Oxford biotech signs agreement with Japanese rare disease treatment development company

Evox Therapeutics

Evox Therapeutics Ltd, a leading biotechnology company based at Oxford Science Park, which specialises in exosome therapeutics, has signed a new partnership worth millions of pounds, with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited , based in Buckinghamshire.

Exosomes are biological nanoparticles that are produced by all cells in the body. They function as biological signalling systems, communicating between cells, carrying proteins, lipids, DNA and RNA. Exosomes are increasingly seen as foundational transporters in the human body’s communication machinery and Evox’s technology development is focused on exploiting this natural mechanism for creating a novel form of biotherapeutics.

The collaboration will work to develop up to five novel protein replacement and mRNA therapies, including Evox’s preclinical programme in Niemann-Pick disease type C, and a second new programme directed at another undisclosed rare disease. As part of the deal, Takeda also has the option to select up to three additional rare disease targets. Niemann-Pick disease is a rare inherited neurodegenerative disease that affects infants, children and adults

Dr. Antonin de Fougerolles, Chief Executive Officer of Evox, said: “We are delighted to have entered into this strategically important partnership with Takeda, a recognised leader in the development of treatments for rare diseases. The deal significantly extends our cash runway into late 2022 and allows us to aggressively expand our own proprietary pipeline of rare disease drugs, including a urea cycle disorder programme we expect to enter the clinic in 2021.”

Madhu Natarajan, Head of the Rare Diseases Drug Discovery Unit at Takeda, added: “Evox Therapeutics has developed a novel approach toward treating devastating diseases, such as Niemann-Pick Type C.  Collaborating on the Evox exosome platform also complements our expanding capabilities in cell and gene therapies.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Evox will be eligible to receive up to $44 million in upfront, near-term milestone payments and research funding.  In total, Evox is eligible to receive approximately $882 million in upfront, development, and commercial milestone payments from Takeda. Evox will also receive tiered royalties on net sales of each product.

Evox will be primarily responsible for research and development activities for each programme until IND-enabling studies and for manufacturing up to and including Phase 1 clinical trials. Takeda will reimburse Evox for manufacturing costs incurred after the pre-clinical handover of the programmes.

Evox Therapeutics is a privately held, Oxford-based biotechnology company focused on harnessing and engineering the natural delivery capabilities of extracellular vesicles, known as exosomes, to develop an entirely new class of biotherapeutics.

Backed by Oxford Sciences Innovation and supported by a comprehensive intellectual property portfolio, Evox’s mission is to positively impact human health by creating novel exosome-based biotherapeutics for the treatment of various severe diseases with limited options for patients and their families. Evox has created substantial proprietary technology to modify exosomes using various molecular engineering, drug loading, and targeting strategies to facilitate targeted drug delivery to organs of interest, including the brain and the central nervous system. Exosome-based drugs have the potential to address some of the limitations of protein, antibody and nucleic acid-based therapies by enabling delivery to cells and tissues that are currently out of reach using other drug delivery technologies, and Evox is leading the development within this emerging therapeutic space.