PvP Biologics, an iGEM Startup, acquired by Takeda for $330Million
Born out of the 2011 UWashington iGEM Team, they dreamed of treating celiac disease with an oral therapeutic, using computational protein design software developed at UW.
The team identified kumamolisin-As (KumaWT), from the acidophilic bacterium Alicyclobacillus sendaiensis, as a starting template for an enzyme that could maintain activity in acidic conditions of the stomach. To create improved versions of KumaWT, the UW iGEM team used Rosetta to design a novel protein that has ~100x more specificity and activity for digestion of gluten protein than the original enzyme. They called this new enzyme KumaMax, the first recombinant candidate enzyme therapeutic for celiac disease. The 2011 UW iGEM team won the international grand championship that year for KumaMax — the first undergraduate team to achieve this honor.
Osaka-based Takeda Pharmaceutical said Wednesday it would spend $330 million to buy PvP Biologics, following the conclusion of a Phase I proof-of-mechanism study of TAK-062, also known as Kuma062, in healthy volunteers and celiac disease patients. Takeda plans to present data from the trial at an upcoming medical conference. Takeda plans to initiate a Phase IIb efficacy and dose-ranging study of TAK-062 in patients with uncontrolled disease who maintain a gluten-free diet.
PvP started the clinical trial of TAK-062 in September 2018. The company and Takeda had formed the development partnership in January 2017, under which PvP would conduct all the research and development through Phase I, with Takeda providing $35 million in funding in exchange for the exclusive option to acquire the company.
"PvP Biologics’ work demonstrated that TAK-062 is a highly targeted therapy that could change the standard of care in celiac disease. We are now applying our deep expertise in gastrointestinal diseases to advance the clinical study of TAK-062 and TAK-101, two programs with different modalities that have both demonstrated clinical proof of mechanism,” Parikh said in a statement.