Jeff Aronin, Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Evozyne recently announced an expansion of the partnership between Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Evozyne, a portfolio company of Paragon Biosciences. Evozyne uses advanced AI and machine learning to develop high functioning novel proteins. The company’s approach focuses on natural evolutionary processes and existing protein sequences. The resulting engineered proteins are highly specific and may perform precise functions within a cell.
Evozyne previously announced a partnership with Takeda in January 2021. Under the previous agreement, Evozyne produced novel proteins that could be incorporated into next generation gene therapies for disorders within the inborn errors of metabolism and lysosomal storage disease areas of research for Takeda. Takeda would have the option to license the novel proteins as part of their gene therapy segment.
The new agreement announced April 5 expands the original deal. The new partnership affords Takeda the opportunity to research gene therapy targets for four rare diseases. Evozyne received an undisclosed upfront payment. The company is also eligible to receive future developmental, regulatory and commercial milestone payments of up to $400 million if all milestones are achieved in target indications over the course of the partnership plus tiered royalties on net sales of any commercial product resulting from the collaboration.
Madhu Natarajan, leader of Takeda’s rare disease drug discovery program, said of the deal, “Producing highly differentiated transgenes is critical to advancing the next generation of gene therapies. By expanding our collaboration with Evozyne, we have the opportunity to leverage their novel protein engineering platform across new disease targets with the hope of one day delivering functional cures to patients living with rare genetic diseases.”
Takeda’s ambitions in gene therapy may benefit from Evozyne’s unique approach. In addition to Evozyne’s impressive results in protein engineering, the company also tackles delivery. Most gene therapies rely on viral vectors which can be limited in their ability to deliver therapeutic gene therapies. Evozyne is working on functional miniaturized genes that may overcome these limitations.
Jeff Aronin sees the partnership with Takeda as an important step in advancing the field of protein engineering and developing much-needed treatments for debilitating illnesses.
Evozyne combines evolution and deep learning technology to create highly functional novel proteins — Natural Machines — to solve longstanding challenges in therapeutics and sustainability. By amplifying a protein’s function based on the rules of nature, we address complex, high-impact problems. From developing life-changing patient treatments to finding ways for previously untreatable diseases to be cured safely and effectively, Evozyne is committed to making a healthier world. For more information, visit https://www.evozyne.com/.
Paragon is a life science innovator that creates, invests in and builds life science companies in cell and gene therapy, adaptive biology and advanced biotechnology. Paragon’s portfolio includes Harmony Biosciences (HRMY), Evozyne, Castle Creek Biosciences, Emalex Biosciences, CiRC Biosciences, and Qlarity Imaging. The Paragon Innovation Capital model supports a consistent flow of incubating companies. For more information, visit paragonbiosci.com.
About Jeff Aronin
Jeff Aronin is the founder, chairman and CEO of Paragon Biosciences and co-founder, chairman and CEO of Evozyne. Throughout his career, Jeff has focused on accelerating scientific breakthroughs to solve some of society’s most challenging problems.
In 2020, Jeff he was named one of the Top 10 Inspiring CEOs by Insight Success magazine and awarded Innovator of the Year by Best in Biz Awards in 2018. He received the Weizmann Institute Leadership Award and was inducted into the Chicago Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. He was named one of the 20 Most Influential Leaders in Healthcare by Insights Care. Finally, Jeff received an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Outside of his leadership at Paragon, Jeff devotes his time and talents to philanthropy. He is the founder and chairman of MATTER, a technology incubator that supports healthcare innovation. MATTER has helped fund more than 200 healthcare companies, collaborating with more than 60 corporate sponsors to close more than $1.7 billion in deals.
Jeff is a member of The Commercial Club of Chicago and serves on the board of the Aspen Institute and Discover Financial Services (DFS). He is a mentor to students and young professionals and is a regular guest lecturer at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business as well as Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.