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Takeda Pharmaceuticals said Tuesday it will spend $4 billion and offer another $2 billion in milestones for an experimental anti-inflammatory pill from Nimbus Therapeutics, the largest deal yet for a new target that has already yielded one approved drug and sparked multiple startups.

Takeda will acquire a molecule that blocks TYK2, a signaling protein that affects how cells respond to common inflammatory molecules in the blood. Over the last few years, drugmakers have honed in on it as a new way to tamp down the inflammation that contributes to various autoimmune diseases.


Bristol Myers Squibb won approval for the first TYK2 drug, Sotyktu, in September for plaque psoriasis. Nimbus said last month that its molecule — previously known as NDI-034858 and henceforth by the slightly less jarring TAK-279 — also beat out placebo on a standard measure of psoriasis in a Phase 2 trial, although it didn’t disclose details.

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