Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, a Japan-based global pharmaceutical company, recently announced an agreement with BioSurfaces Inc., a small Massachusetts research company, to research the development of medical devices for the treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) diseases. According to the announcement, Takeda will contribute its GI expertise to the development of medical devices to be designed by BioSurfaces using BioSurface’s biomaterial nanotechnology. Takeda’s GI drug Entyvio has recently been predicted by gastroenterologists to see significant growth. Fittingly, BioSurfaces touts its nano-fibrous materials, said to be formed by electrospinning FDA-approved polymers, as superior platforms for drug-delivery. Vincent Ling, Ph.D., senior director of the Materials and Innovation, Takeda Pharmaceutical Sciences, commented:
Our research collaboration will lead to the development of cutting-edge use of biopolymers and device fabrication technology. Application of developed technology has the potential to help prevent strictures and promote healing of fistulas, which are common manifestations of GI diseases.
The partnership continues a trend for Takeda, which has entered into at least 50 other new partnerships over the past 20 months, according to Life Science Leader. A little over a year ago, the 236-year old pharmaceutical company announced its plans to restructure the R&D organization by focusing on three therapeutic areas – Oncology, Gastroenterology (GI), and Central Nervous System (CNS) – as well as on Vaccines. As reported by Life Science Leader, the partnerships reflect the “restructuring of the R&D organization around the idea of increasing external collaboration on a global scale.” BioSpace notes that Takeda’s new strategy also includes splitting-off several assets outside of its new R&D focus as well as investing in strategic acquisitions, with the Financial Times reporting in 2016 that Takeda had allocated $15 billion for U.S. acquisitions.
Takeda’s partnership with BioSurfaces is not the first time it has teamed up with a nanotech partner to complement its drug discovery with drug delivery modalities. “Takeda is devoting itself to the idea of spinning off companies based on new technologies, including those discovered outside. As a pharma designed for drug discovery, at times it’s best to fund an alternate modality, so it can grow externally, before integrating it into our pipeline. I think that’s a view of nanotechnology we can entertain for the future” said Ling in 2016.