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Bill Haney’s Skyhawk spears another marquee alliance for its work drugging RNA in Takeda neuro pact

John Carroll – Editor & Founder


Bill Haney’s Sky­hawk Ther­a­peu­tics has scored an­oth­er high-pro­file de­vel­op­ment part­ner.


Com­ing af­ter its Shire buy­out, Take­da has al­lied with Sky­hawk to dis­cov­er new small mol­e­cules for un­spec­i­fied neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions. There’s no word on terms, but Haney has had con­sid­er­able suc­cess in gain­ing sig­nif­i­cant up­fronts for his dis­cov­ery deals. Sky­hawk ear­li­er tied up with a trou­bled Bio­gen, while Cel­gene pro­vid­ed $100 mil­lion in cash to de­ter­mine how Sky­hawk’s plat­form drug­ging RNA works.


Cel­gene’s list of dis­ease tar­gets in­clud­ed amy­otroph­ic lat­er­al scle­ro­sis — ALS — and Hunt­ing­ton’s dis­ease.


Drug­ging RNA has come on fast as an emerg­ing biotech field. Michael Gilman got the par­ty start­ed last Feb­ru­ary when he ush­ered Ar­rakis out af­ter more than a year of qui­et­ly set­ting up the plat­form. Then at the be­gin­ning of this month Ex­pan­sion Ther­a­peu­tics had its com­ing out par­ty, dis­play­ing a plat­form with R&D roots in the lab of Scripps’ Matthew Dis­ney (not re­lat­ed to Tim), who’s had a long­time in­ter­est ex­plor­ing the field. Ri­bometrix is al­so in­volved.


“Sky­hawk’s nov­el ap­proach in cor­rect­ing RNA ex­pres­sion will com­ple­ment our ex­per­tise in small mol­e­cule sci­ence and may im­prove our chances of tar­get­ing neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­eases that have pre­vi­ous­ly been con­sid­ered un­drug­gable,” says Emil­ian­ge­lo Rat­ti, who heads up Take­da’s work on neu­ro­sciences.

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Maura McCarthy


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