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KSQ Therapeutics and Takeda Enter Broad Strategic Collaboration to Research, Develop and Commercialize Novel Immuno-Oncology Therapies

  • Collaboration includes two T-cell programs and an expansive discovery program to identify natural killer (NK) cell targets
  • Potential for more than $100M in upfront and preclinical milestone payments, and eligible to receive additional development and commercialization milestone payments for each product
  • KSQ retains a U.S. cost/profit-sharing option on one product, and is entitled to potential royalties for each commercialized product

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., January 13, 2021 – KSQ Therapeutics, a biotechnology company using its proprietary CRISPRomics® discovery platform to systematically screen the whole genome to identify optimal gene targets for oncology and autoimmune disease, today announced that it has entered into a broad strategic collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (“Takeda”) to research, develop and commercialize novel immune-based therapies for cancer. Under the agreement, KSQ has granted Takeda an exclusive, worldwide, royalty-bearing license to develop, manufacture and commercialize cell and non-cell therapy products that modulate targets identified using KSQ’s CRISPRomics technology. The deal includes two T-cell targets previously identified and validated by KSQ, with the potential to introduce two additional T-cell targets to the collaboration.  The companies will also collaborate to discover and develop therapeutics that modulate natural killer (NK) cell targets to be identified through the collaboration.

“KSQ’s CRISPRomics discovery platform is a powerful technology to help us identify novel targets in line with our immuno-oncology strategy,” said Loïc Vincent, Head, Oncology Drug Discovery Unit and Immunology Unit at Takeda. “The T-cell and NK-cell target discovery approach complements our portfolio aimed at turning cold tumors hot and redirecting the innate immune system to elicit a sustained and durable immune response against tumors. Working alongside KSQ will facilitate smart drug discovery and development of what we hope will be transformative new therapies for patients with intractable forms of cancer.”

“Takeda’s approach to and leadership in oncology R&D are an excellent match to our platform capabilities and we are delighted to work with them in two promising new areas of immuno-oncology,” said John Trzupek, Chief Business Officer, KSQ. “We have demonstrated with our recent positive preclinical data on our lead targeted oncology program KSQ-4279, the differentiated ability of our discovery platform to identify and de-risk high-value, novel oncology targets. We look forward to bringing these same insights in immuno-oncology to Takeda to advance together potentially valuable new medicines for patients with cancer.”

Under the terms of the agreement, upfront and potential preclinical milestones have the potential to exceed $100 million. In addition, KSQ will be eligible for additional option payments along with development and commercialization milestone payments. Depending on the target, these option and milestone payments can reach up to more than $400 million per program. KSQ is also eligible to receive tiered royalties on net sales of each approved product. KSQ and Takeda can collaborate on IND-enabling activities, with clinical development led by Takeda to explore multiple modalities. Takeda will assume responsibility for funding all development and commercialization activities. KSQ will have the option to participate in cost/profit sharing on one of the two products based on the T-cell targets previously identified and validated by KSQ, in the U.S. and retain royalties on all ex-U.S. sales for that product.

“KSQ gathered significant momentum during the past six months. We have continued to advance our wholly-owned lead programs, KSQ-4279 and KSQ-001, with an IND filing for KSQ-4279 planned for this year. This foundational strategic alliance with Takeda builds on our CRISPRomics platform and deep expertise in immuno-oncology, which will enable us to continue to discover and develop important therapeutics for cancer patients,” said Theo Melas-Kyriazi, Chairman of the Board. “As we look to 2021, we expect to continue our progress in advancing these programs and to opportunistically seek partnerships to leverage our broad platform capabilities where it makes sense to do so.”

About KSQ Therapeutics

KSQ Therapeutics is advancing a pipeline of tumor- and immune-focused drug candidates for the treatment of cancer across multiple drug modalities including targeted therapies, adoptive cell therapies and immuno-therapies. KSQ’s proprietary CRISPRomics® discovery engine enables genome-scale, in vivo validated, unbiased drug discovery across broad therapeutic areas. KSQ was founded by thought leaders in the field of functional genomics and pioneers of CRISPR screening technologies. For more information, please visit the company’s website at and follow @ksq_tx on Twitter.

KSQ Media Contact:

Cory Tromblee
Tel: 617-571-7220

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