AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Molecular Templates, Inc. (Nasdaq:MTEM) today announced an agreement with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda) for the joint development of CD38-targeted engineered toxin bodies (ETBs) for the treatment of patients with diseases such as multiple myeloma. The lead development candidate is a CD38-targeted ETB that resulted from a previous discovery collaboration between the two companies.
The parties developed preclinical stage ETBs targeting CD38 under the prior discovery collaboration. Takeda and Molecular Templates will further develop the ETBs for the treatment of multiple myeloma under this new license, development and commercialization agreement.
“This collaboration builds on Takeda’s deep history and commitment to the study of blood cancers, including multiple myeloma,” said Philip Rowlands, Ph.D., Head, Oncology Therapeutic Area Unit at Takeda. “Throughout our research collaboration with Molecular Templates, we have seen the promise of its ETB platform for the discovery and development of new therapies. As we expand our relationship and continue to explore next-generation modalities, our hope is to bring forth new and important treatment options for patients.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Takeda will make an upfront payment of $30 million and Molecular Templates is eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments of up to $632.5 million if Molecular Templates exercises its co-development option or $337.5 million if Molecular Templates does not exercise or opts out of its co-development option. Takeda has also agreed to pay royalties on sales of the commercial product developed through the collaboration. Molecular Templates and Takeda will share equally in the development costs.
“We have worked closely with Takeda’s scientific team since October 2016 to develop CD38-targeted ETBs with substantial improvements over our own internal program, MT-4019,” said Eric Poma, Ph.D., Molecular Templates’ Chief Executive and Scientific Officer. “Takeda’s expertise in multiple myeloma and strong antibody capabilities allowed us to develop CD38-targeted ETBs that, of the ones tested to date, are the most potent ETBs we have created with our platform. We look forward to moving this program into the clinic.”
Multiple myeloma cells widely express the CD38 protein, making it an increasingly important target in the development of therapeutics for multiple myeloma. CD38-targeted ETBs recognize the protein and deliver a modified bacterial toxin that enters the myeloma cells and destroys them through the enzymatic and irreversible destruction of ribosomes. Unlike other CD38-targeted therapies, ETBs are not reliant on the body’s own immune system for effectiveness, offering the potential of broader and deeper responses.
About Molecular Templates
Molecular Templates is focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of next-generation immunotoxins called Engineered Toxin Bodies (ETBs) for the treatment of cancers and other serious diseases. For additional information, please visit Molecular Templates’ website at www.mtem.com.