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Takeda licenses humanised antibody for cancer drug

Mon Jul 10, 2006 3:44am ET

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TOKYO, July 10 (Reuters) - Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. (4502.T: Quote, Profile, Research), Japan's biggest drug maker, said on Monday it has agreed with Galaxy Biotech to license the U.S. biotech venture's experimental humanised antibody for the treatment of cancer.

Takeda will pay Galaxy an up-front licensing fee of $2 million, milestone payments and royalties on product sales. Takeda will also fund further research activities at Galaxy on the antibody and its successors over the next four years.

The deal comes as the latest in a series of licensing deals sealed by Takeda in a move to grab a bigger slice of the lucrative oncology market, which has become a magnet for pharmaceutical research globally.

Under the latest agreement, Takeda receives exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and sell the Galaxy's HuL2G7 antibody, which blocks the activity of a growth factor believed to mediate proliferation and metastasis of many types of tumours, it said in a statement.

In a recent study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, Galaxy investigators and collaborators at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, showed that in animal models, treatment with HuL2G7 induced substantial tumour regression and greatly prolonged survival.

"This alliance represents our initiative to enhance the R&D pipeline in oncology, including antibody drug technology, which is one of our core therapeutic areas," Takeda President Yasuchika Hasegawa said in the statement.

Among the licensing deals signed by Takeda since 2004 are rights to jointly develop and sell Merck KGaA's (MRCG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) EMD 720000 drug to treat non-small-cell lung, gastric and colorectal cancer, and marketing rights for BioNumerik Pharmaceuticals Inc's (BNPI.O: Quote, Profile, Research) chemoprotective agent Tavocept in the United States and Japan. Prior to the Monday announcement, shares in Takeda closed up 2.1 percent at 7,300 yen, in line with the pharmaceutical sector (.IPHAM.T: Quote, Profile, Research).

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

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