Takeda Strengthens its US Presence




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Video title: Takeda Strengthens its US Presence
Released on: November 25, 2008. © PharmaVentures Ltd
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Dr Greg Landes recently joined Takeda San Francisco as Vice President, Antibody Research where he is responsible for overseeing, and the management of, all research functions directed towards the discovery and advancement of antibody drugs. In this week's interview, he discusses the purpose of the company as it grows and its role in Takeda's globalisation plans. With a focus on his own department and the science that it performs, Dr Landes builds a picture of a company whose progress will be exciting to watch in the future.
The purpose of ResearchTakeda San Francisco.
Fintan Walton:
Hello welcome to Pharmaventures Business review here live in London. On this show I have Greg Landes who is Vice President of AntibodyResearch at Takeda San Francisco. Welcome to the show.
Greg Landes:
Fintanit's a pleasure to be here.
Fintan Walton:
Gregyou are just recently joined Takeda San Francisco. And Takeda San Francisco is clearly a subsidiary of Takeda in Japan what is the purpose of Takeda San Francisco?
Greg Landes:
Takeda San Francisco is a centre of excellence as you've already pointed out for Antibody discovery. It's recognized that antibodies are becoming an increasingly important type of drug molecule. There is only twenty two antibody drugs right now that are commercially available. We feel that in fact there is going to be quite a few more and Takeda has taken the initiative to go ahead and put in a world class structure in the birthplace of Biotech in the Bay area, go ahead and create antibody drugs.
The working model of Takeda San Francisco and role in preclinical R&D.
Fintan Walton:
Right. Because Takedahas had a history in North America, it had this joint venture with Abbott [PharmaDeals ID = 30291] which is just now backed out of that particular joint venture but it's also now made an acquisition of Millennium [PharmaDeals ID = 30116]. So it looks like Takedais now very active outside Japan?
Greg Landes:
That's correct. I think this is part of their globalization plan to go ahead and have a much more far reaching impact in terms of drug discovery and development throughout the world. In United States alone they are going to be building a variety and expanding centers of excellence in both small and large molecule opportunities and also bring on other technologies, highly specialized technologies to be a world class in terms of drug discovery and development.
Fintan Walton:
So how does Takeda San Franciscowork from that perspective, because clearly I know that you are starting to buildup the numbers than that people actually working there. So what is the actual working model for Takeda San Francisco?
Greg Landes:
Well the goal is to go ahead and first hire a highly trained staff and the reason for selecting San Francisco was again being the birth place of Biotech and in fact with a variety of companies in the South San Francisco area we realized it would be easier to recruit a trained individuals that had experience bringing drugs to market place and also to be able to leverage a lot of a new technologies in the antibody space and we thought that that was the place to be and to move forward and also to be recognized as a real player in the antibody space.
Fintan Walton:
So it plays a role in the discovery and preclinical work, so it's most of the effort is preclinical?
Greg Landes:
Yes it will be pre R&D. It will be trying to access targets through either our parent organization in Japan through the alliances and relationships with target discovery companies even taking advantage of existing antibodycandidates that other people have identified that needs some support and possibly further optimization of those candidates to move them into the IND enabling stage. Yes we will be focusing on the front end and then partnering with either our Oncology group at Millennium or for Non- Oncological applications with TGRD in Deerfield, Illinois.
Fintan Walton:
So, even some of the products with the Millennium will be shifted over to "
Greg Landes:
The antibody product candidates are at still in a early stage, discovery will be moving to San Francisco, we will then be further optimizing, refining, making sure that we can meet our design goals, advancing those forward and when they are ready for R&D enabling activities while those would be stand supported by Millennium in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Developing manufacturing facilities
Fintan Walton:
Right. Now the challenges for developing antibodies, well documented one of those of course is the manufacturing. So is there responsibility also for developing the manufacturing capabilities?
Greg Landes:
I think early stage manufacturing particularly in terms of Cell line generation we do have a relationship with lonza to use their GS system. We will also be looking at other systems as well because I do think as you pointed out cost of goods is a very, very important factor for antibodies involve the cost of goods, expenses gone down in the last decade or so. It still needs to be further reduced. That's probably not only upstream but also has to be downstream activities because the cost of purification and quality control and release is also a very expensive item and probably is not even gonna be affected by (indiscernable).
Candidates coming through the pipeline and potential therapeutic areas of Oncology, inflammatory diseases, Metabolic disease and cardiovascular diseases.
Fintan Walton:
Right. Now the other thing is what candidates are currently coming through the pipeline?
Greg Landes:
I think from the organization right now we are probably pretty Oncology heavy. I think the acquisition of Millennium is going to further faster that and I think the Oncology space has been a Therapeuticarea indication that has been well served using antibodydrugs. I think the top, five of the top ten Oncology drugs in fact are antibodydrugs. What we realize is that in fact going forward that we need to be creative and then show initiative and look at other possible avenues in terms of Therapeutic interventions so inflammatory diseases we will be looking at and also I think Takeda has a long interest in lifestyle pipes of manipulations and interventions. So you can imagine things in the Diabetes area, possibly cardiovascular. We recognize the cost of goods there will be even more important but these are chronic diseases with great opportunities though in terms of being able to keep patients under control and have probably much lower side effects in terms of the types of drug properties that we would prescribe for these patient populations.
Fintan Walton:
So the remet is then quite broad, it's not just only Oncology you are looking at all potential therapeuticareas with various fields?
Greg Landes:
Yes, so we would like a fairly broad portfolio I think our oncology will probably remain the highest priority but we would like a blended portfolio with oncology, Inflammatory disease, Metabolic disease possibly [ph] cardiovascular disease and probably if we can find other unique new share [ph] applications we'll actually go after those as well if they make sense.
Opportunity of driving a cultural change within Takeda.
Fintan Walton:
Right. Now one of the other things I've noticed with Takeda is that it's -- there is a drive internally to try and change the culture within the organization. So building Takeda San Francisco provides an opportunity to do that?
Greg Landes:
Well Takeda has shown a lot of initiative over the last five years. They've created Takeda Research Investments in Palo Alto. That was their first entry into the United States. And then in 2005 they created their structure by design group acquiring Syrrx [PharmaDeals ID = 19261] in San Diego. They continued to leverage of that with creating Takeda San Francisco in 2007 and then acquiring Millennium in 2008. I don't think these will be the last opportunities done also there is Takeda Cambridge in 2007 and TakedaSingapore. These are two knock out companies again trying to recognize that biology is very, very hard you almost have to take a systems approach and using the knock out to go ahead and examine and using deep biology the consequences of Gene activation and probably Geneproduct inactivation that would simulate what a drug might do in terms of antagonizing the pathway.
Collaborations, inlicensing and deals
Fintan Walton:
Right. So taking antibodiesand bringing them into new therapeutic areas are big challenges, you talked a little bit about collaboration, looking at in licensing antibodiesand technologies from other companies. How close is Takeda San Francisco to doing, executing those sorts of deals?
Greg Landes:
We are very close. I think we have some existing technologies we have that " we are utilizing right now. We have access to the Medarex 's mouse [ph]. we also as I pointed out earlier have the lonza Technology for expression, we have the Potelligent Technology for going ahead and leveraging additional effective function in Oncology. But we realize that not all those technologies are going to be sufficient for all diseases. We want to continue building on that, but as you also pointed out we also need additional targets and other types of alliances possibly even Lead molecules that we can work on because we knew, we are getting into the game a little bit late in terms of technology platforms and we also recognize there are very few out there right now only twenty two and in fact it's still pretty early days.
Fintan Walton:
And what -- you know one of the big challenges of course is clinical development, so where does clinical development take place for these newly found antibodies? Do they take place in San Francisco or they go off somewhere else?
Greg Landes:
Clinical development for Oncology will take place at Millennium in Cambridge. And for Non- Oncological indications they will take place in Deerfield, Illinois. So these will be our two centers and they will be moving programs forward -- forward in a very clear cut manner based on therapeuticarea.
Future plans of Takeda San Francisco.
Fintan Walton:
Right. So going forward in terms of building Takeda San Francisco you are currently, I believe thirty seven people how big this other operation become in the future?
Greg Landes:
We expect to be close to fifty people by the end of this year, close to ninety people by the end of 2009 and probably about a 120 people by the end of 2010.
Fintan Walton:
So significant investments in the region?
Greg Landes:
Yeah, I think particularly when you focus on the fact that we are doing early stage discovery identifying lead molecules, optimizing and demonstrating robust pharmacology and advancing to Cell line generation and characterization doing the early talk studies and then working very closely with our development partner whether be it in Cambridge Massachusetts or Deerfield, Illinois.
Fintan Walton:
And you've just recently joined the organization, do you feel excited about what they are doing?
Greg Landes:
Very excited. I think that we're " we're thinking a bit as flying -- flying in aero plane while we're building it. Though we have a lot of moving parts going on right now but there everyone is extremely excited.
Fintan Walton:
Okay. Well thanks a lot Gregfor coming on the show. Thank you very much indeed.
Greg Landes:
Very Good. I enjoyed being here.
Greg Landes
Vice President Antibody Research
Greg Landes is Vice President of Antibody Research for Takeda San Francisco (TSF). He joined the company in September 2008 with over 25 years of biopharmaceutical and biotechnology experience. Dr Landeshas held the position of Vice President at several companies including Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Abgenix and Genzyme. At Lexicon, he managed bio therapeutics research activities related to the generation and characterization of target specific monoclonal antibodies, the use of monoclonal antibodies to determine the pharmacological tractability of the target in relevant disease models, and the conversion and re-engineering of mouse monoclonal antibodiesHe was a member of the joint steering committees for multiple drug discovery alliances and also served on Lexicon's scientific executive committee. At Abgenix, he was responsible for day-to-day operations for antibodygeneration and characterization while serving as a member of the joint steering teams with major alliance partners. Several antibody leads identified during his tenure at Abgenix have advanced to clinical development. At Genzyme, Dr. Landesrose to the level of VP of Genetics and Genomics and was responsible for target related activities in the area of human genetics and expression profiling. Dr. Landes has authored 49 scientific articles and is an inventor of 12 issued and several pending patents. He received his B.A. degree in chemistry and Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Kansas and was a post-doctoral fellow at UCLA where he received the Molecular Biology Institute Post-Doctoral Scholar Award followed by an NIH post-doctoral fellowship award.
Takeda San Francisco
Takeda San Francisco, Inc. ( TSF) was established in November 2007 as Takeda's global center for excellence for biologics. The company's main role is to support Takeda's therapeutic antibodyresearch through it's antibodytechnology platform. The platform is based on discovery, optimization and development technologies used to efficiently generate Investigational New Drug (IND) candidates for the treatment of cancer, inflammatory and metabolic diseases. Takeda was founded in 1781 and is located in Osaka, Japan. As the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and one of the global leaders of the industry, Takeda is committed to striving toward better health for individuals and progress in medicine through research and by developing pharmaceutical products. In 2007 the company recorded over $14B in sales. Takeda markets a number of blockbuster drugs discovered through its internal research programs including Actos (diabetes), Blopress (cardiovascular disease), and Prevacid (ulcer). Takeda has more than 4000 US-based employees and is rapidly growing its US operation.