A group of former Takeda scientists has ventured on their own with cancer assets licensed from their old biotech. The resulting company, Chordia Therapeutics begins with lab space at a Takeda location, numerous oncology candidates, as well as funding from a Japanese firm and a Venture Capital syndicate.
The candidates previously on Takeda’s pipeline have been acquired by the team of the six former Takeda scientists, which includes the former head of oncology drug discovery at one of the company’s sites. Chordia’s drug programs include preclinical CDC-like kinase (CLK) inhibitors with applications in cancer and an adult T cell leukemia lymphoma drug.
The newly formed biotech has immense support with lab space at Takeda’s Shonan site, which is in the process of transforming into a startup incubator. Kyoto University Innovation Capital, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and SMBC Venture Capital contributed to Chordia’s series A, as well. Lastly, Kyoto University’s Seishi Ogawa will use his work on merging factor mutations in cancer to assist the startup to develop CLK inhibitors that kill tumor cells.
Takeda identified Chorida as one of three companies created through its entrepreneurship venture program, in its second-quarter report. The others include discovery services shops ChromaJean and Seedsupply. The development of the startups emerged after Takeda introduced an additional drug discovery service shop named Axcelead which is when Takeda’s decision to transform its research center in Shonan into a startup incubator. The location supports and hosts other byproducts of the biotech that include Cardurion, Scohia Pharma and T-Cira.
In 2016, Takeda decided to restructure its R&D operations to focus efforts on oncology, gastroenterology, the central nervous system and vaccines in two geographies, the U.S. and Japan. The restructuring has also conducted the company to believe that some candidates may see better advancement from the startups despite the area of focus.