Takeda has acquired Maverick Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical firm focused on conditionally active bispecific T-cell targeted immunotherapies, for about $525m.

With the acquisition, Takeda will get Maverick’s T-cell engager COBRA platform and its wide-ranging portfolio including lead development candidates TAK-186 (MVC-101), and TAK-280 (MVC-280).

TAK-186 (MVC-101) is currently studied in a Phase 1/2 trial for the treatment of EGFR-expressing solid tumours, while TAK-280 (MVC-280) is expected to be marketed this year, for the treatment of patients with B7H3-expressing solid tumours.

Takeda said that the COBRA platform will complement its approach to redirect immune cells such that they target cancer with the potential to unlock efficacy in solid tumours.

Takeda oncology therapeutic area unit head Chris Arendt said: “Collaboration is paramount to our R&D strategy and our pursuit of novel approaches to treat cancer.

“By supporting pioneers like Maverick working in emerging areas of science, we can share expertise, resources and risk to bring transformational new therapies to patients faster.

“Maverick’s cutting-edge COBRA platform is an exciting addition to our oncology portfolio that provides a novel conditional bioengineering approach to advance redirected immunotherapies against solid tumours.”

The acquisition follows a Takeda and Maverick’s collaboration initiated in 2017 to develop conditionally active T-cell engager therapies.

Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, Takeda has received an equity stake and an exclusive right to purchase Maverick after five years.

The Japanese pharmaceutical firm has exercised its option to acquire Maverick, based on the success of the lead programmes and the promise of the COBRA platform.

Takeda is anticipated to make a pre-negotiated upfront payment along with a potential development and regulatory milestones totalling up to $525m, subject to adjustments.

Closing of the transaction is expected in the first quarter of Takeda’s fiscal year 2021, subject to completion of the review under antitrust laws, including the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 in the US.

Upon closing of the transaction, Maverick employees, including its team of scientists, will be moved to Takeda’s Research & Development organisation.

Maverick Therapeutics CEO James Scibetta said: “Takeda’s exercise of their purchase option is a tribute to the Maverick team’s singular focus on improving outcomes for patients with solid tumour cancers.

“Through the acquisition, patients will benefit from the expansion of resources and experience Takeda brings to accelerate development of our COBRA-derived therapies.

“Takeda has been an excellent partner since Maverick’s inception, venerating our independence through a period marked by rapid innovation, providing actionable consultation, and providing direct cell line development and manufacturing support through the Covid-19 pandemic to keep us on our aggressive schedule.”