Takeda, Evotec ink RNA-targeting development deal

March 22, 2021

Evotec and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company have entered into a multi-RNA target alliance with the goal to discover and develop RNA targeting small molecule therapeutics for highly attractive targets that are difficult to address via more conventional approaches.

The two companies plan to jointly identify and develop small molecule structures that target various RNA targets relevant to Takeda's research and development areas. They will use Evotec's EvoteRNA targeting platform to identify RNA sequences that are amenable to small molecule ligands. The platform combines established drug discovery methods with new technologies such as third-generation sequencing and sequencing-based RNA structure elucidation.

Last year, the FDA approved Roche's Evrysdi, making it the first approved small-molecule drug that works by targeting RNA. The milestone approval marked what could be the start of more small-molecule drugs that act by directly targeting RNA or RNA–protein complexes, rather than aiming solely at proteins implicated in disease.

Given that many highly validated targets have proven to be intractable via conventional protein targeting approaches, Evotec has been pioneering RNA targeting strategies and approaches.

In this recent partnership, the German-based biotech stands to receive undisclosed research funding from Takeda, as well as discovery, pre-clinical, clinical, commercial, and sales milestone payments of up to $160 million per drug program.

Read the press release