Busy Takeda Takes Out TiGenix in $630M Deal


By Alex Keown


Shares of Belgium-based TiGenix NV shot up more than 72 percent in pre-market trading after Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical opted to acquire the company with which it has a developmental partnership for $630 million.

In 2016, Takeda, which has a strong position in gastroenterology, and TiGenix forged a development and licensing deal for Cx601. Now the larger company is bringing its partner under its umbrella. This morning, Takeda said the acquisition would expand the company’s late-stage gastroenterology pipeline and strengthen its presence in the U.S. specialty care market. The decision to acquire TiGenix was announced only a few weeks after the European Medicine Associations’ Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) recommended approval for Cx601 (darvadstrocel), a stem cell therapy for Crohn’s disease. The recommendation was the first allogeneic stem cell therapy to receive a positive CHMP opinion in Europe. The EMA is expected to make its decision in the first half of 2018. A Phase III trial is underway in the United States that the companies hope will pave the pathway for approval here.

Cx601 is a suspension of allogeneic adipose-derived stem cells (eASC). The drug has been developed to treat complex perianal fistulas in patients with non-active/mildly active luminal Crohn’s disease, who have had an inadequate response to at least one conventional or biologic therapy. Fistulas are sores that can develop in the intestines and become infected. They are a common complication in Crohn’s disease and can cause intense pain in patients. Although common in patients, they can be challenging for doctors to treat. Perianal fistulas are estimated to affect up to 28 percent of patients in the first two decades after Crohn’s disease diagnosis, according to Takeda’s announcement.

Andrew Plump, Takeda’s chief medical and scientific officer, said he has collaborated with TiGenix since the two companies struck the deal and touted the gastroenterological work done with the Belgian company’s stem cell platform.

“As a leader in gastroenterology, Takeda recognizes the complex physical, emotional and social barriers that people living with fistulizing Crohn’s disease experience. Limited treatment options exist today and I believe we can be most effective in serving this population by working in collaboration with partners whose unique skill sets allow us to more efficiently explore innovative approaches, including stem cell therapies,” Plump said in a statement.

TiGenix Chief Executive Officer Eduardo Bravo said the acquisition is a “positive step” for the company’s shareholders and “reflects the true value of our dedication to patients over the last few years.” He said TiGenix’s expertise will help Takeda’s ambition to develop novel stem cell therapies.

“Takeda is a patient centric company that offers the best capabilities and resources to ensure access to Cx601 to patients worldwide,” Bravo said in a statement.



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