Takeda Pharmaceutical, a Japan-based drugs company, has agreed to buy one of its corporate venturing unit’s portfolio companies, Envoy Therapeutics, for up to $140m. Takeda Ventures invested in Envoy’s $8m series A round in October 2009 and partnered with the developer of drugs for neurological and psychiatric diseases. The other investors in the A round had been venture capital firm 5AM Ventures and Roche Venture Fund, the corporate venturing unit of the eponymous Switzerland-based drugs group. Takeda had also extended a convertible loan of undisclosed size to Envoy in November 2009 (that switches to equity if the debtor raised a second round of funding) and set up a Schizophrenia research alliance the following October that paid Envoy $3m initially and $2.25m per year for the following three years. Takeda said buying Envoy would give it proprietary bacTRAP technology that ines genetic engineering with molecular biology techniques for labeling and extracting the protein-making components of specific types of cells. In addition, Takeda said it gained access to Envoy’s pre-clinical central nervous system assets, including programs for Parkinson’s Disease and Cognitive Impairment Associated with Schizophrenia. Paul Chapman, general manager of pharmaceutical research division at Takeda, said: “Since our initial investment in 2009, it has been clear to us that Envoy’s scientific excellence in combination with their vision for the utilization of bacTRAP technology have great potential to create and explore truly innovative targets across multiple therapeutic areas.” Ernst & Young advised Takeda on the deal with legal counsel from Cooley. Grant Thornton advised Envoy with Latham and Watkins as legal adviser.

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