• Takeda Will Be Protagonist’s Co-Development, U.S. Co-Commercialization Partner With 50:50 Profit Share, and With Exclusive Ex-U.S. Global Rights to Commercialize Rusfertide, Protagonist’s Investigational Injectable Hepcidin Mimetic Currently in Development for the Treatment of Polycythemia Vera (PV)
  • Takeda Will Make an Upfront Payment of $300 Million at Closing
  • Partnership Combines Protagonist’s Leadership in Pharmaceutical Peptide Drug Development With Takeda’s Commercial Expertise and 70-Plus Year Legacy of Driving Innovation Within the Rare Hematology Community

OSAKA, Japan, CAMBRIDGE, MA, and NEWARK, CA, USA I January 31, 2024 I Takeda (TSE:4502/NYSE:TAK) and Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc., (Nasdaq: PTGX)

today announced the signing of a worldwide license and collaboration agreement for the development and commercialization of rusfertide, an investigational injectable hepcidin mimetic peptide of the natural hormone hepcidin, currently in a pivotal Phase 3 trial, VERIFY, for the treatment of Polycythemia Vera (PV).

PV is a rare chronic blood disorder characterized by excessive production of red blood cells that affects as many as 160,000 patients in the U.S.1, with a similar prevalence in Europe2,3. The hallmark manifestations of PV are increased red blood cell count and iron deficiency4, putting patients at higher risk of cardiovascular and thrombotic events, such as heart attack and stroke5,6, often impacting quality-of-life with symptoms such as fatigue and confusion7.

Under the terms of the agreement, Protagonist will receive an upfront payment of $300 million and is eligible to receive additional worldwide development and regulatory milestone payments, as well as commercial milestones and tiered royalties on ex-U.S. net sales. Protagonist will remain responsible for research and development through the completion of the Phase 3 clinical trial and U.S. regulatory approval. Takeda has rights for ex-U.S. development and is responsible for leading global commercialization activities.

“As pioneers in the field of pharmaceutical peptide drug discovery and development, we believe that the maximum impact from our innovation and development acumen can be best achieved with the right partner at the right time,” said Dinesh V. Patel, Ph.D., President and CEO of Protagonist Therapeutics. “This transformational deal allows Protagonist to focus on completion of Phase 3, while leveraging Takeda’s exceptional global commercialization capabilities to immediately commence pre-commercial activities with a first-in-class new chemical entity. As we progress towards a fully integrated pharmaceutical company, this deal mitigates the inherent execution risks of a first-time commercial launch, optimizes the timing and enhances the scope for peak potential sales of rusfertide, while still allowing us to actively participate in the commercial experience and economics with a 50:50 profit split in the U.S. market.”

“The agreement with Protagonist represents an important step forward in our strategy of acquiring late-stage assets in the rare disease space to leverage our existing infrastructure and expertise. It combines the strength of their science with the reach of our commercial organization, understanding of rare diseases, and most importantly, our focus on supporting patients through their journey,” said Julie Kim, president, U.S. Business Unit and U.S. country head, Takeda. “This is an exciting opportunity to leverage our more than 70 years of innovation and commitment to rare diseases and hematology to deliver a first-in-class therapy to Polycythemia Vera patients, helping to address significant needs in the community. We look forward to working closely with Protagonist as rusfertide completes its registrational clinical program.”

Discovered through Protagonist’s peptide technology platform, rusfertide’s mechanism of action is thought to regulate iron homeostasis and control the absorption, storage and distribution of iron in the body. The randomized portion of the Phase 2 REVIVE study of rusfertide in Polycythemia Vera achieved its primary endpoint. The long-term follow-up data from the 2-year open label extension

were presented at the American Society of Hematology 2023 Annual Meeting in early December, which showed durable hematocrit control, decreased phlebotomy use, long-term tolerability and no new safety signals in patients with PV.

Today’s announcement builds upon Takeda’s heritage in Rare Hematology and follows the recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of ADZYNMA, Takeda’s treatment for congenital thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (cTTP), an ultra-rare blood clotting disorder.

Following U.S. regulatory filing, Takeda will lead commercialization of rusfertide with Protagonist holding an option to co-detail in the U.S. Under the terms of the agreement, Protagonist has the right to opt-out of the 50:50 profit share. In that event, Protagonist would be eligible to receive opt-out payments and enhanced milestone and royalty payments. Takeda would maintain full ex-U.S. rights under either scenario.

Further details related to the agreement are available on the Form 8-K filed today by Protagonist Therapeutics with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The effectiveness of the agreement is subject to the termination or expiration of any applicable waiting periods under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.

PJT Partners acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Protagonist.

Conference Call and Webcast Information

Protagonist management will host a conference call and webcast today at 4:30 p.m. ET to provide a brief overview of the co-commercialization agreement.

Wednesday, January 31 at 4:30 PM ET

Domestic: (877) 704-4390 (U.S./Canada)

International: (201) 389-0920

Conference ID: 13744228

Participants can use Guest dial-in #s above and be answered by an operator OR click the Call me™ link for instant telephone access to the event. Call me™ link will be made active 15 minutes prior to scheduled start time.

Call me™: https://callme.viavid.com/viavid/?callme=true&passcode=13744228&h=true&info=company-email&r=true&B=6

Webcast: https://viavid.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1654841&tp_key=6b0a844538A live and archived webcast will also be accessible in the Investors section of the Company’s website at www.protagonist-inc.com.


ADZYNMA (ADAMTS13, recombinant-krhn) is a human recombinant “A disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs 13” ADAMTS13 (rADAMTS13) indicated for prophylactic or on-demand enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) in adult and pediatric patients with congenital thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (cTTP).

ADZYNMA was previously granted Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) and by the U.S. FDA for the treatment and prevention of TTP, including its acquired idiopathic and secondary forms, as well as Fast Track and Rare Pediatric Disease Designation. The U.S. FDA granted Takeda a Rare Pediatric Disease Voucher for the approval of ADZYNMA. ADZYNMA has also been granted ODD by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) for the treatment of TTP.

Important Safety Information

ADZYNMA is contraindicated in patients who have experienced life-threatening hypersensitivity reactions to ADZYNMA or its components.

Hypersensitivity Reactions: Allergic-type hypersensitivity, including anaphylactic reactions, may occur with ADZYNMA. Patients should be educated about early signs of hypersensitivity such as tachycardia, chest tightness, wheezing and/or acute respiratory distress, hypotension, generalized urticaria, pruritus, rhinoconjunctivitis, angioedema, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, paresthesia, and restlessness. If signs and symptoms of severe allergic reactions occur, immediately discontinue administration of ADZYNMA and provide appropriate supportive care.

Immunogenicity: There is a potential for immunogenicity with ADZYNMA. Patients may develop neutralizing antibodies to ADAMTS13, which could potentially result in a decreased or lack of response to ADAMTS13. Patients may develop antibodies to host cell proteins which could potentially result in adverse reactions. There are no data on immunogenicity with ADZYNMA or to host cell proteins in previously untreated patients (subjects naïve to plasma-based products).

Adverse Reactions: The most commonly observed adverse reactions (>5% of subjects) associated with ADZYNMA are headache, diarrhea, migraine, abdominal pain, nausea, upper respiratory tract infection, dizziness and vomiting.

Use in Specific Populations: The safety of ADZYNMA for use during pregnancy has not been established in controlled clinical trials. Limited data are insufficient to inform a drug associated risk of adverse developmental outcomes. There is no information regarding the presence of ADZYNMA in human milk, its effects on milk production, or the breastfed infant.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including information for patients.

About Takeda

Takeda is focused on creating better health for people and a brighter future for the world. We aim to discover and deliver life-transforming treatments in our core therapeutic and business areas, including gastrointestinal and inflammation, rare diseases, plasma-derived therapies, oncology, neuroscience and vaccines. Together with our partners, we aim to improve the patient experience and advance a new frontier of treatment options through our dynamic and diverse pipeline. As a leading values-based, R&D-driven biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan, we are guided by our commitment to patients, our people and the planet. Our employees in approximately 80 countries and regions are driven by our purpose and are grounded in the values that have defined us for more than two centuries. For more information, visit www.takeda.com.

About Protagonist

Protagonist Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company with peptide-based new chemical entities (NCEs) rusfertide and JNJ-2113 (formerly PN-235) in advanced stages of clinical development, both derived from the Company’s proprietary peptide technology platform. Protagonist and Janssen scientists jointly discovered oral peptide PN-235 (now known as JNJ-2113) as part of Protagonist’s Interleukin-23 receptor (IL-23R) collaboration with Janssen and followed it through IND-enabling pre-clinical and Phase 1 studies, with Janssen assuming responsibility for further clinical development. Rusfertide, a peptide-mimetic of the natural hormone hepcidin, is currently in a global Phase 3 development program.

More information on Protagonist, its pipeline drug candidates and clinical studies can be found on the Company’s website at www.protagonist-inc.com


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  2. Orphanet: https://www.orpha.net/consor/cgi-bin/Disease_Search.php?lng=EN&data_id=8747&Disease_Disease_Search_diseaseGroup=polycythemia-vera&Disease_Disease_Search_diseaseType=Pat&Disease(s)/group%20of%20diseases=Polycythemia-vera&title=Polycythemia%20vera&search=Disease_Search_Simple
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SOURCE: Takeda Pharmaceutical Co