Takeda Pharmaceutical has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Inviragen for an upfront payment of $35 million, and future payments of up to $215 million linked to the progress of clinical development and achievement of key commercial milestones.
Headquartered in Fort Collins, Colo., with facilities in Madison, Wisc., and Singapore, Inviragen is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company specializing in research and development of innovative vaccines for emerging infectious diseases, including dengue and hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).
"Takeda has taken another major step toward its goal of establishing a world-class global vaccine business by acquiring Inviragen and its advanced vaccine candidate against dengue, a serious mosquito-borne illness that threatens nearly half of the world's population," said Rajeev Venkayya, M.D., executive vice president and head of Takeda's Vaccine Business Division.
Inviragen has created innovative products using its expertise in viral vaccines. The company's lead candidate, DENVax, is a four-strain recombinant viral vaccine for the prevention of dengue infection. An administration schedule of two doses of DENVax over 90 days is currently being evaluated in phase II trials. In addition to DENVax, Inviragen's pipeline contains a vaccine candidate to protect against hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) caused by enterovirus 71 (EV71), which has completed phase I clinical testing. Inviragen has also developed a recombinant vaccine candidate to protect against chikungunya, currently in preclinical development.
"The acquisition of Inviragen supports Takeda's overall research and development programs, long-term growth strategy and commitment to improve health through innovation and new technology," said Tadataka Yamada, M.D., Takeda's chief medical and scientific officer and member of the Takeda board of directors. "Coming less than a year after the acquisition of LigoCyte with the world's leading norovirus vaccine candidate, this illustrates Takeda's commitment to its global vaccine business and global public health."
Dengue is the most important mosquito-borne viral illness in the world, and is one of four World Health Organization (WHO) future vaccine priorities. It is estimated that about 400 million people worldwide are infected by the dengue virus each year, of which nearly 100 million develop clinical illness.
"This acquisition combines Inviragen's expertise in viral vaccine research and development and our extensive worldwide network of preclinical and clinical collaborators with Takeda's resources, product development expertise, and global reach. Together we are well-positioned to bring these promising vaccine candidates to the market," said Dan Stinchcomb, Ph.D., CEO of Inviragen. "Inviragen is pleased to become a part of a leading pharmaceutical company that is so strongly committed to developing vaccines that can improve public health worldwide."
Beyond the substantial expansion of Takeda's vaccine pipeline, this acquisition will enhance Takeda's core vaccine R&D capabilities with Inviragen's vaccine development center in Singapore, in one of the regions where Inviragen's vaccines will have the greatest impact.
To preserve continuity and build upon Inviragen's success, Takeda will integrate the Inviragen team into Takeda's Vaccine Business Division.
Pending the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to close in the next few weeks.