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10 January, 2018 - 15:53 By Tony Quested

Denali-Takeda tie-up enhances prospects of rich payback for F-star

F-star John Haurum

The prospect of Cambridge life science company F-star maximising a potential $1 billion payback plus additional royalties from a collaboration with Nasdaq-quoted Denali Therapeutics has received a considerable boost from another tie-up in the chain.

CEO John Haurum has flagged up the significance to F-star of a synergistic alliance just announced by its San Francisco partner with Japanese giant Takeda.

Denali and Takeda have agreed to develop and commercialise up to three specified therapeutic product candidates for neurodegenerative diseases. These three programmes are based on Denali's ATV (Antibody Transport Vehicle) technology and include transferrin receptor-specific Fcabs™ (Fc-domains with antigen-binding activity) that were discovered under the collaboration with F-star and announced in August 2016.

This collaboration leverages F-star’s Modular Antibody Technology and Denali’s expertise in the development of therapeutics for neurological diseases. The collaboration is held within F-star Gamma Limited (F-star Gamma), an Asset-Centric Vehicle in the F-star family.

Haurum, speaking from an event in San Francisco today, said: “Denali Therapeutics’ agreement with Takeda is extremely exciting news for F-star and provides clear validation of our technology. It underlines the positive progress in our collaboration.”

Under the terms of the agreement F-star announced with Denali in 2016, F-star has already received upfront payments totalling $6 million, as well as research funding and is eligible for technical milestone payments.

Denali also has the option to acquire F-star Gamma prior to the initiation of the first Phase 1 clinical trial in return for aggregate exercise and milestone payments to the F-star Gamma shareholders of up to $450m in total.

If Denali does not exercise the option to acquire F-star Gamma, it has the right to license a pre-specified number of mAb² based on each Fcab generated by F-star Gamma, in return for licence fees, development, regulatory and commercial milestones payments with a potential aggregate value of $1bn and tiered royalties on product sales.

F-star’s prospects of cashing in to the full on its 2016 deal with Denali have now been considerably enhanced by Takeda’s arrival in the triumvirate.


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