Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited  today announced the exercise of its option to acquire GammaDelta Therapeutics Limited, a company focused on exploiting the unique properties of gamma delta (γδ) T cells for immunotherapy.

GammaDelta was co-founded in 2016 by Adrian Hayday and Oliver Nussbaumer of the Crick and King’s College London, with support from life sciences investors Abingworth and Cancer Research Technology, the commercial arm of Cancer Research UK.

Several aspects of the early-stage research were facilitated by the support and the infrastructure of our BRC.

Adrian Hayday, co-founder of GammaDelta Therapeutics, said: “Takeda’s announcement is a massive vote of confidence in an unprecedented approach to cancer therapy arising from our basic research studies.

“In committing to Gamma Delta Therapeutics, Takeda can apply transformative off-the-shelf options for treating patients with different types of cancer, hopefully increasing the number of people who survive their disease.”

Gamma Delta therapeutics works to exploit the unique activities of gamma delta (γδ) T cells that are found in the body’s tissues where cancers and inflammatory diseases take hold. These distinct immune cells specifically recognise and are activated by molecular patterns of dysregulation associated with cancer. Using these cells the company have been able to develop “off-the-shelf” cell therapies.

Takeda exercised its option to acquire GammaDelta for a pre-negotiated upfront payment as well as potential development and regulatory milestones. The acquisition follows a multi-year collaboration between Takeda and GammaDelta Therapeutics formed in 2017 to develop GammaDelta’s novel γδ T cell therapy platforms.

Professor Robin Ali, Director of the NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ BRC added: “I am delighted by Takeda’s vote of confidence in GammaDelta’s novel γδ T cell therapy platforms and its commitment to further develop these innovative cell therapies for the benefit of patients with cancer.  Our BRC infrastructure supported several aspects of the early research that led to the development of GammaDelta’s technology. It is a fantastic example of what BRCs were set up to do, and I am enormously pleased that through our Guy’s and St Thomas’ BRC we were able to support the translation of basic research into patient benefit.”

Dr Paolo Paoletti, CEO of GammaDelta, said: “Takeda’s exercise of their acquisition option is the culmination of years of a fruitful collaborative partnership and recognizes GammaDelta Therapeutics’ promising progress in developing novel platform technologies to treat solid tumors and hematological malignancies,”

“Through our work together, we’ve made great strides in developing our proprietary γδ T cell therapy platforms, which have enabled the development of a pipeline of innovative cell therapies and allowed for the advancement of our first program into Phase 1 clinical development. This acquisition builds on the tremendous work of our talented team and provides the foundations to enable rapid development of a portfolio of innovative allogeneic cell therapies, focused on improving outcomes for patients with cancer.”