Takeda returns co-developed cancer drug to Turnstone Bio

July 28, 2022

Takeda has decided to terminate its collaboration with Turnstone Biologics to develop the armored oncolytic virus TAK-605, citing "strategic reasons" and has returned global rights to the asset back to NY-based Turnstone.

The collab was inked back in Dec. 2019 when Takeda put up $120 million to advance Turnstone’s lead candidate, RIVAL-01 (renamed TAK-605), through a worldwide co-development and co-commercialization partnership. Turnstone's RIVAL therapeutic pipeline is based on its proprietary vaccinia virus platform, which has been engineered for enhanced immune-stimulation and tumor cell selectivity, potent oncolysis and large transgene carrying capacity. RIVAL-01 consists of the vaccinia virus backbone encoding transgenes for Flt3 ligand, anti-CTLA-4 antibody and IL-12 cytokine. The drug was being tested in early stage trials against multiple cancers.

The decision to walk away from TAK-605 was quietly mentioned in Takeda's quarterly financial report. According to the report, the two companies’ discovery efforts to identify additional novel product candidates based on Turnstone’s vaccinia virus platform are still ongoing.