The microbiome alliance between Takeda Pharmaceutical and Finch Therapeutics is ending without either partner’s inflammatory bowel disease program reaching human testing.
Finch said late last week that the Japanese pharmaceutical giant had decided to I stop the alliance after reviewing the pipeline. Rights to both microbiome programs will be transferred to Finch, based in Somerville, Massachusetts. The termination of the agreement is due to take effect on November 17.
Some gut disorders stem from an imbalance in the trillions of microbes that make up the gut microbiome. Finch is developing live biotherapeutics designed to deliver the microbes missing from the patient’s gut. The biotech’s lead in-house program, CP101, is in late-stage development for the prevention of recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection.
The collaboration with Takeda began in 2017, with the biotech granting the pharmaceutical giant an exclusive license to develop TAK-524 (formerly FIN-524), a microbiome therapy candidate for ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease located in the colon. The deal paid Finch $10 million with the potential for up to $176 million more tied to milestones.
In 2019, the agreement expanded to a second program, FIN-525. This microbiome therapeutic candidate is being developed for Crohn’s disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease in which inflammation can occur anywhere along the length of the gastrointestinal tract with patches of healthy parts of the intestine interspersed between inflamed areas.
TAK-524 was designed with computational and molecular analysis of data from 146 patients treated with fecal microbiota transplantation and 19 observational studies of an additional 2,210 patients. Last year, the agreement was further amended, transferring to the pharmaceutical giant the primary responsibility for development, production and regulatory responsibility for TAK-524.
To date, Finch said Takeda has paid him more than $44 million over the course of the collaboration. That amount includes a $10 million upfront payment, $4 million in milestones and more than $30 million in research and development reimbursements. When the agreement officially closes, Finch will receive a royalty-free license to all data and intellectual property created during the partnership. In the termination announcement, Finch CEO Mark Smith said his company would explore other collaborations to continue development of the two inflammatory bowel disease programs.
“We are currently reviewing our portfolio and assessing the financial and strategic impact of ending our collaboration with Takeda,” Smith said.
In its financial report for the second quarter of 2022, Finch said it had $104.6 million in cash and cash equivalents as of June 30.
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