Millennium: Takeda Acquires San Diego’s Intellikine for $190M Upfront

Xconomy Boston — 

Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals, which has its cancer drug development operations in Cambridge, MA, said today it is acquiring San Diego-based Intellikine to get ahold of the startup’s portfolio of cancer drugs.

Takeda said it has agreed to pay $190 million upfront, plus another $120 million in future milestone payments, to acquire privately held Intellikine. Through this deal, Takeda is getting its hands on a portfolio of small-molecule drugs that are made to block many of the different variations of a hot target in cancer biology-the PI3 kinase pathway.

This move inserts Millennium:The Takeda Oncology Company into one of the most competitive fields in the cancer drug business, pitting it against GlaxoSmithKline, Roche, Novartis, and Gilead Sciences, among others. Intellikine has long said it differentiates itself through its in-depth understanding of the four common variations of the PI3k pathway, and marrying that biology with a prolific chemistry team that created more than 1,500 different drug candidates to block those various targets. Two drug candidates in particular, dubbed INK218 and INK1117, were singled out in today’s statement by Takeda as having potential to be best-in-class compounds.

“As single agents or in different combinations with novel molecules within our robust pipeline, we anticipate that these assets will be able to deliver transforming therapies to cancer patients,” Millennium: Takeda’s CEO, Deborah Dunsire, said in a statement.

Intellikine, founded in September 2007 with a $12.5 million venture financing, grew out of science from the lab of Kevan Shokat at the University of California San Francisco. The company raised a $28 million Series B venture round in July 2009, from a syndicate that included Novartis Bioventures, Biogen Idec, FinTech Global Capital, and US Venture Partners, as well as previous investors Sofinnova Ventures, Abingworth Management, and CMEA Ventures. In July 2010, Intellikine pulled in another $13.5 million upfront through a collaboration with Cambridge, MA-based Infinity Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INFI).

The Intellikine takeover marks the second time this year that a maker of PI3kinase inhibitors has been acquired. Back in February, Gilead Sciences acquired Seattle-based Calistoga Pharmaceuticals for $375 million upfront, plus another $225 million in potential milestone payments.

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