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Takeda’s partnership strategy is advancing the fight against cancer

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Interview with Christopher Arendt, Head of Oncology Cell Therapy and Therapeutic Area Unit, on the Potential of Cell Therapy to Positively Impact the Lives of Cancer Patients


The recently exercised option to acquire GammaDelta Therapeutics (GammaDelta) is another example of Takeda’s R&D partnership strategy in action, following on the heels of our recent successful acquisition of Maverick Therapeutics. It is also an important step in expanding our immuno-oncology pipeline, allowing us to seamlessly integrate GammaDelta’s platforms into our cell therapy portfolio, which includes our natural killer (NK) and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) cell therapy platforms.

We sat down with Christopher Arendt, Head of Oncology Cell Therapy and Therapeutic Area Unit at Takeda, to learn more.


Q: Takeda’s partnership with GammaDelta has focused on focused on harnessing gamma-delta T cells for immunotherapy. In simple terms, what are these cells and why are they so important in fighting cancer?

CA: Gamma-delta T cells are particularly interesting because of their connection to ‘innate immunity’, which gives these cells the power to orchestrate potent immune responses against threats, including cancers.  When engineered with genes that potentiate their anti-tumor recognition capacity, these cells have the potential to overcome cancer’s ability to evade immune recognition. The cell therapy platforms developed over the course of our partnership with GammaDelta Therapeutics include technologies designed to generate allogeneic immunotherapies based on these cells. These allogeneic, or ‘off-the-shelf’, therapies use a single source of cells in a manufacturing process that can be scaled for large segments of patients.  Gamma delta T cells have potential to address not just hematological cancers, but also have unique properties that make them attractive for solid tumors —an area where other cell therapy platforms have fallen short.


Q: What does this planned acquisition mean for Takeda?

CA: Our collaborations with innovators that have unique technology platforms and deep domain expertise, such as GammaDelta Therapeutics and Maverick Therapeutics, enable us to continue to revolutionize our R&D efforts and better identify and accelerate promising solutions for cancer patients.

We continue to make progress in cell therapy and, more broadly, in our immuno-oncology portfolio focused on leveraging the innate immune system. This includes novel programs like subasumstat (TAK-981), our first-in-class SUMOylation inhibitor that recently demonstrated early positive proof of concept (POC), and modakafusp alfa (TAK-573), a first-in-class targeted immunotherapy that recently achieved POC, among others.


The acquisition of GammaDelta Therapeutics is expected to be finalized in Q1 of Takeda’s fiscal year 2022. Closing of the transaction is contingent on completion of review under antitrust laws, including the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 in the U.S.


Go deeper into Takeda’s partnership strategy.

Go deeper into our Oncology business and scientific platforms.

Go deeper into our pipeline.


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