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License to Pill: Biotech and pharma deals from Oct. 3-16

Licensing deal activity saw an uptick in the two weeks ended Oct. 16, with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Roche Holding AG among those striking notable deals, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Transactions included collaborations to develop treatments for liver diseases, cystic fibrosis, osteoarthritis and central nervous system disorders.

Tokyo-based Takeda entered into the largest deal during the period after it agreed to pay $300 million up front to Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc. for rights to develop and commercialize experimental therapy ARO-AAT for treating patients with alpha-1 antitrypsin-associated liver disease. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is a rare genetic disorder associated with both liver and pulmonary conditions.

Under the agreement, which is subject to U.S. antitrust review, Arrowhead is eligible for potential development, regulatory and commercial milestones of up to $740 million.

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Swiss drugmaker Roche also entered into an agreement with privately held company Dyno Therapeutics Inc. during the two-week span.

Both companies will collaborate to develop gene therapies targeting disorders of the central nervous system and liver.

Novartis AG acquired rights of a potential osteoarthritis therapy M6495 from Merck KGaA for €50 million up front. The pact includes potential payments of €400 million based on certain development and commercial milestones as well as royalties on future net sales of the drug.

Meanwhile, Moderna Inc. regained all rights to its mRNA-1172 vaccine from Merck & Co. Inc.

Moderna has now consolidated all global commercial rights to its prophylactic vaccines portfolio. Kenilworth, N.J.-based Merck will complete the phase 1 clinical trial of mRNA-1172 before transitioning the program to Moderna.

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