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Takeda ProThera Collaboration, And Other News: The Good, Bad And Ugly Of Biopharma (NYSE:TAK)

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Takeda Teams Up with ProThera on IAIP Therapy

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TAK) announced inking a new deal with ProThera Biologics for the purpose of developing IAIP therapy. This plasma-derived therapy is intended to be used for treating acute inflammatory conditions. Both the companies will work together for carrying out the preliminary work leading to the start of clinical trials. Takeda is expected to lead the efforts towards the filing of IND.

The global licensing deals with IAIP which is a naturally occurring protein circulating in the blood. The research conducted by ProThera shows that such proteins may aid the process of controlling inflammation. Denice Spero, president and chief business officer of ProThera said, “Our goal is to successfully treat patients with severe inflammatory conditions and this is now possible through our alliance with Takeda. Takeda’s R&D expertise is well aligned with the potential uses of our Inter-alpha Inhibitor technology.” Takeda will be responsible for funding all the development and commercialization activities.

Takeda is consistently working towards boosting its portfolio of plasma derived therapies. The company had made a foray in this direction with its acquisition of Shire, which came with a price tag of nearly $62 billion. However, the company has not disclosed the financial terms and conditions of its latest deal with ProThera.

This development underscores Takeda’s attempt to take its business in a new direction. The company recently announced its deal with Oriflame. Under this $670 million agreement, Takeda will dispose of a portfolio of non-core, prescription and OTC pharmaceutical products. Most of these products are sold in different countries such as Belgium, Norway, Finland, Austria and Denmark. Giles Platford, President, Europe & Canada Business Unit, Takeda said, “These divestments will enable us to further prioritize and reinforce efforts in our core business areas. Throughout the robust sale process we conducted for these assets, we focused on finding the right partner to maximize the value of these trusted products and maintain continuity of supply for the patients and customers who depend on them.” Takeda conceded that it is looking to simplify and streamline its portfolio.

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Takeda will be transferring nearly 110 products to Oriflame under this deal. It will also transfer two of its manufacturing units in Poland and Denmark to Oriflame. Takeda received $505 million at the closing of the deal while nearly $70 million will be paid over the course of the next four years. Takeda may also receive up to $95 million extra in potential milestone-related payments.

Overall, the company is planning to divest non-core assets worth $10 billion to focus on some key areas and to reduce its debt load. The company is aiming to achieve a Net Debt/Adjusted EBITDA ratio of 2x by the March 2022 and March 2024 time frame. In the recent past, Takeda announced a spate of sell-offs and divestitures around the globe. It entered into a deal with Hypera Pharma for the sale of non-core assets in Latin America for $825 million. Takeda is a global company based out of Japan and focuses on developing innovative medicines.

Gilead Stock Slumps as its Remdesivir Purportedly Flunks the COVID-19 Test

Gilead Sciences (GILD) suffered a setback as rumors about its Remdesivir drug flew around the internet. Apparently, a leaked document, accidentally posted by the World Health Organization showed that Remdesivir failed to provide any discernible improvement to patients suffering from serious COVID-19 symptoms. However, the company has now taken a stand to dispel the rumors.

Gilead issued a statement saying that “the post included inappropriate characterizations of the study.” The company further clarified that the said trial was ended early on account of low enrollment. The data from the trial is currently under peer review and the company is looking forward to release an update in the near future. The company’s share slumped in the market as the Financial Times had posted a report suggesting that the drug is ineffective in the fight against the coronavirus.

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In a statement released to the press, the company said, “We regret that the WHO prematurely posted information regarding the study, which has since been removed. The investigators in this study did not provide permission for publication of results.” The company further elaborated that while the study results are largely inconclusive, the trend shows that there may be a potential benefit for the drug, especially it is used early in disease. The drug is a subject of several studies going on to assess its potential to treat COVID-19.

The study in question involved 237 patients. For the ongoing studies, the company informed that such Phase III trials were either fully enrolled for the purpose of primary analysis or were on track to full enrollment in the near future. The drug candidate showed the potential to treat coronaviruses, similar to the one causing COVID-19, in some animal studies. Currently, there is no approved therapy to treat COVID-19.

Daxor Gets DoD Boost, Stock Jumps

Daxor (DXR) stock jumped as the company reported receiving a new contract from the US Department of Defense. The contract pertains to the development and deployment of a blood volume analyzer. The analyzers are portable and are powered through a battery. The company currently produces a hospital-grade analyzer unit, BVA 100. This instrument is electrically powered and will form the basis of the development of the new product.

The project is aimed at improving combat casualties. Daxor plans to ramp up its research and development activities to ensure that the project remains on schedule. The company reported that it has been working on the prototype for the past two years. Daxor Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Feldschuh. “Whether helping to treat COVID-19 patients in the hospital setting as we are doing now, or helping with trauma and burn patients in the military or civilian setting, Daxor’s current and future systems are a leap forward from the current standard of care for volume assessment and provide better patient results in numerous settings.”

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Daxor plans to use its core technology for the purpose of developing this instrument. The company said that it is aiming to develop the product which is faster and simpler to use. It is also looking to achieve the target of 12 minutes for delivering complete volume status. Such swift delivery may help the medical professional in making timely and precise decisions regarding medication and treatment protocol.

Daxor has a long history of collaborating with the government on important projects. The company was initially chosen in 2018 by Small Business Innovative Research department. Daxor is looking forward to initiate working on the project in the month of May. The company’s BVA 100 has been used in more than 45,000 patient clinical assessments.

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Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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