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Takeda signs $50m Crohn’s deal with French biotech Enterome

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., which has a major presence in Massachusetts, is based in Japan.
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., which has a major presence in Massachusetts, is based in Japan. Bloomberg

A Japanese drug maker with a big presence in Cambridge and a French biotech startup whose tiny US office is located there have signed a licensing deal worth at least $50 million to the startup.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. plans to make an upfront payment of $50 million to Enterome SA, a Paris-based biotech whose lead drug candidate would treat Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder.

Under the deal, Enterome is also eligible to receive up to $640 million more if the two companies meet certain goals for developing the drug, getting it approved by regulators, and selling it to patients.

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Tokyo-based Takeda has one of the largest Massachusetts work forces of any foreign drug maker, with more than 2,150 employees, most of them in Cambridge, according to Julia Ellwanger, a company spokeswoman.

Takeda’s work force in the state is expected to grow significantly if its recent $62 billion deal to buy Shire wins final approvals. Shire is based in Ireland, but most of its operations are in Massachusetts, where it has about 3,000 employees, primarily in Lexington and Cambridge.

Takeda also said in September that it plans to close its US headquarters in suburban Chicago and move those operations the Boston area. The headquarters in Deerfield, Ill., had nearly 1,000 employees.

Enterome was established in 2012 in France to treat diseases associated with the human microbiome, the trillions of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that live inside and on our bodies. It has three employees in Cambridge, according to an Enterome spokeswoman.


Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at jsaltzman@globe.com