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Takeda unveils new Boston R&D manufacturing center for cell therapy pipeline push

Japanese drugmaker Takeda has trumpeted its plan in recent years to cut billions of dollars in costs and pivot around oncology and rare diseases. A key part of that strategy is Takeda’s next-gen cell therapies, and the company is now doubling down to get those products to market. 

Takeda has opened a 24,000-square-foot R&D manufacturing center in Boston as the Japanese drugmaker works to flesh out a bustling cell therapy pipeline focused immediately on immuno-oncology, Takeda said Tuesday.

The newest facility, part of Takeda’s pivot to Boston for its U.S. operations, will handle clinical development for three ongoing pipeline programs and five other projects expected to enter clinical development by the end of 2021, the drugmaker said. 

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The slate of projects currently in development includes TAK-007, a phase 1/2 chimeric antigen receptor-directed natural killer (CAR-NK) cell therapy that Takeda is studying to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. 

Takeda is also testing two CAR-T therapies: TAK-940, a Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center-partnered therapy to treat relapsed/refractory B-cell cancers; and TAK-102, a solid-tumor hunter developed alongside Noile-Immune Biotech. 

While Takeda’s focus will initially be on its I-O pipeline, the drugmaker could eventually expand its efforts out to cell therapies beyond cancer, the company said.

RELATED: Goodbye, Chicago: Takeda sets December deadline for U.S. employees’ Boston move

RELATED: Takeda whittles away costs—and assets—to keep its debt-cutting promises

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