Takeda Ventures Inc: Graeme Martin. Extending Takeda’s reach into the Global scientific community

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Video title: Takeda Ventures Inc: Graeme Martin. Extending Takeda’s reach into the Global scientific community
Released on: July 03, 2013. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, filmed at BioTrinity 2013, Newbury UK, Fintan Walton speaks to Graeme Martin, President and CEO of Takeda Ventures Inc.
Acquisition of Nycomed and structural changes at Takeda Ventures
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at BioTrinity, in 2013. On this show, I have Graeme Martin, who is President and CEO of Takeda Ventures, welcome.
Graeme Martin:
Thanks Fintan, it's great to be able to be here and provide you with a bit of an update on our activities.
Fintan Walton:
Indeed, because we know we've interviewed you before, Takeda itself has undergone a numerous changes structurally, it's acquired Nycomed [PharmaDeals ID = 40811] a couple of years ago now. What's happened at Takeda Ventures?
Graeme Martin:
Well you are right that Takeda is undergoing a very extensive globalization. The acquisition of Nycomed was a very important addition to pipeline as well as giving us much broader territory coverage for commercialization. And consistent with that, we have broadened the remit of the ventures group as well. In fact, I think the last time we spoke we were titled ' Takeda Research Investment' and the reason for that was that at that time we were very closely affiliated with Takeda's research division. We've now changed the name at the end of 2011 to Takeda Ventures to more properly reflect the value that we bring across the entire R&D chain.
Fintan Walton:
Sure and part of that of course is giving, allowing you to get access to, improved access, to innovation that Takeda comes across so it fits within the business development function?
Graeme Martin:
Yes, in fact we now report into business development or up through business development and I think the advantages for us is several fold. Firstly it allows us to work much more closely with business development colleagues in the clinical development space which is nearly we won't previously very active in. And I think they've seen now the value of having positions within companies prior to potential strategic transactions with them. So we get good strategic intelligence and insights to very important assets ahead of a move to potentially acquire those assets. So that's one advantage. and then the second thing is that I think we want to bring a greater level of internal awareness about new business initiatives and through strategic investment provide, if you like, feedback to a wider swathe of our organization about key initiatives in the outside world that we can use the venture group to establish a position in and frankly determine whether we should invest more seriously in that space or even not invest there at all. So even a negative result can be, you know, hugely impactful for the organization.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so basically Takeda Ventures is a very important strategic arm for Takeda?
Graeme Martin:
Yes, I think that we now view it as an important and critical tool as part of our external search and evaluate activities. It's one of three groups including business development itself that we have now put in play to both access external innovation and frankly build a wider network with innovators both in academia and in the private biotech sector.
Structure of funds
Fintan Walton:
Right, and the structure of the fund, I mean you don't have a fund per se but it's a way in which you can access funds from within the Takeda organization which can then be drawn into investments?
Graeme Martin:
Yes, that's right in fact we are continually revisiting actually the source of funding for investments that we make but you are right we don't manage a fund per se. We draw down a capital allocation on an annual basis and if we exceed that annual allocation then we are quite at liberty to compete with other strategic dollars from the licensing budgets, so it's a sort of not quite limitless but it doesn't have a fix ceiling to it.
Fintan Walton:
And additionally obviously it's more like an evergreen fund in that sense as well?
Graeme Martin:
Relationship with VC's and potential co-investors
Fintan Walton:
We talked about how important it's strategically. Obviously our industry, and particularly at the biotech level, you know funding has you know it has been troublesome let's say for the last few years particularly from VC sources. So how important is your relationship with other VC's or potential co-investors with you?
Graeme Martin:
Yes that remains critically important of course, we have been fairly agnostic to the way in which we finance companies depending on both really stage and the other interested parties. What I am saying here is really that we will certainly syndicate with institutional VC firms as well as other corporates and we have no particular sensitivities about working with other corporate. And I think in fact that trend is a growing one and our last investment made at the end of last year was in fact purely a corporate financed activity. So the other issue I think that you were trying to address with the question it comes back to well �haven't the VC's moved away from early stage investment?�. And that's true and that of course leaves a bit of an issue with regard to syndicating those early stage financings. I would say there are two things - I think corporates certainly are stepping into that space, but I don't think there is enough of us with deep enough pockets to fill that gap completely. So I think the institutional houses will continue to explore mechanisms for investment that will bring them back down to that early stage financing scene.
Outcomes of recent investments
Fintan Walton:
Graeme with your you know your investments so far, what outcomes have you had so far, obviously you have your positives and negatives maybe touch at some of the positives first.
Graeme Martin:
Yes I am glad you are asking me that question because we differentiate ourselves from the pack of 'pharma corporates' by being purely strategic. And I say �we differentiate ourselves� but in fact that differentiation is now waning as other pharma corporates are also evolving their model down that path,. On a positive note - one of the more recent companies we invested in, and in fact we helped to start this company, together with 5AM ventures and Roche Ventures, so another example of co-investment by corporates, was acquired by Takeda Pharmaceuticals just two years after our first investment which we feel is tremendous validation for the approach that the corporate ventures can take. On the negative side of things - of course we don't expect every investment to deliver necessarily strategic value but, we know we will learn something important having made that bet in the first place. I think I mentioned earlier that sometimes getting a steer clear of a space can be just as strategically important as a steer into a space.
Future plans
Fintan Walton:
And obviously you are based in Palo Alto, I should have said that in the beginning, but in terms of the future for Takeda Ventures what can we expect from Takeda Ventures in the future?
Graeme Martin:
So I think we are now well appreciated across a wider component part of our organization that includes development part as well as research and even into manufacturing and commercialization. One of the initiatives for example that we now have in motion is to work with colleagues in the CMC centre to look for patient compliance technologies. And that's quite a departure for us because this is a convergence of the IT industry with the healthcare industry and frankly it's taking us into a space that is less familiar territory. So I think from a evolutionary standpoint, we need to fill that expertise gap.
Fintan Walton:
Graeme Martin, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Graeme Martin:
Thanks Fintan .
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Graeme Martin
President and CEO
At the time of this PTV interviewGraeme Martin serves as President and CEO of Takeda Ventures. Dr. Martin is President and CEO of Takeda Ventures, Inc, with day-to-day responsibility for operations. He brings more than 30 years R&D experience in large Pharma as well as Biotech, and was responsible for three IND submissions one of which led to the launch of Zomig® now marketed worldwide for the acute treatment of migraine. Dr Martinjoined TVI in 2003, and has been responsible for building a portfolio of strategic investments representing more than US$45MM under management. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacology from the University of Bath, UK and his doctorate from, University College, LondonUK.
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialization.
Takeda Ventures Inc.
Takeda Ventures Inc. (TVI) is the corporate venture arms of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TPC) a world-class pharmaceutical company and the largest in Japan. TVI (formerly Takeda Research Investment, Inc.), was founded in 2001 with the vision to extend Takeda's reach into the Global scientific community and forge strategic relationships that complement and expand internal R&D capabilities. The change in name to Takeda Ventures, Inc. in 2011 reflects an intention to further leverage TVI's venture networks to engage with new scientific and business avenues for Takeda, using strategic venturing to enable staged-entry into new spaces in a fully-informed manner and aim is to encourage and support therapeutic innovation in the biopharmaceutical sector, as well as academic centers of excellence, through early stage capital investment and the provision of access to the resources of a multinational pharmaceutical company.