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Say goodbye to needles
OSAKA, Japan & CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—A new collaboration is underway this week as Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Portal Instruments, a medical device company that focuses on advanced drug delivery, team up for the development and commercialization of Portal's needle-free drug delivery device for possible use with Takeda's biologic medicines.
Per the agreement, Takeda will make an initial payment to Portal, and Portal will also be eligible to receive additional payments of up to $100 million upon the achievement of certain development, regulatory and sales-based milestones, as well as royalties.
“There is a need for options to keep improving the experience for patients with life-long, chronic conditions that are managed with the intravenous infusions of biologic medicines,” Stefan Koenig, Global Program & Brand Lead at Takeda, said in a press release. “This partnership with Portal demonstrates Takeda’s leadership in supporting patients with GI diseases and our commitment to evolve the management of these diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, by potentially offering patients the ability to administer treatment in their own at home with a needle-free system.”
Portal's needle-free device was originally developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the lab of Prof. Ian Hunt. The device delivers biologics via a pressurized liquid, rather than a needle. In the clinic, patients have preferred it as opposed to a needle injection, rating it less painful. Portal notes on its website that “treatment adherence rates for biologics are less than optimal and thought to be in the 40 percent to 70 percent range depending on the indication [CDC, 2013; FDA 2016].” It's expected this device will enable self-administration by patients at home.
As for which Takeda program is lined up to be combined with the device first for investigational use, it's likely to be Entyvio (vedolizumab), a monoclonal antibody for adults with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn’s disease (CD). At present, Entyvio is administered via intravenous infusion. A Phase 3 clinical trial is underway to assess the efficacy and safety of a subcutaneous formulation of vedolizumab in adults with moderately to severely active UC or CD.
“Working with Takeda to adapt the Portal device underscores our mission to empower patients with a leading, next-generation drug delivery platform for self-administration that is designed to reduce the pain and anxiety associated with needle injections in addition to reducing administration time,” commented Patrick Anquetil, CEO of Portal. “This partnership allows us to work collaboratively with Takeda’s highly experienced R&D team and provides the first opportunity to introduce the Portal device to patients, a pivotal step as we continue to expand its potential and grow our business.”
The news came two weeks after Takeda announced another partnership, this one with HemoShear Therapeutics LLC. Together, the companies will set their sights on discovering and developing novel therapeutics for liver diseases, including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Per the terms of the deal, Takeda will make upfront payments and provide HemoShear with R&D funding, and in return will gain exclusive access to HemoShear's disease modeling platform to discover and develop best-in-class therapeutics for liver diseases. HemoShear also stands to receive milestone payments worth up to $470 million, as well as royalties.