Takeda Pharmaceutical Co has expanded its pact with The Scripps Research Institute of the USA to search for new drug targets for a variety of diseases.

The new agreement extends an initial collaboration launched in 2010 between scientists on the Florida campus of TSRI, one of the world's largest independent research organisations, and Envoy Therapeutics, which was acquired outright by Takeda last November in a $140 million deal. That pact has led to "several breakthroughs in identifying potential new compounds for neurological and psychiatric diseases", TSRI says.

Scott Forrest, the latter's vice president for business development, said that "we're pleased to expand our partnership with Takeda-Envoy and to push promising drug discovery efforts forward". He added that the high-throughput screening capability at Scripps Florida campus is in increasing demand—both from other research institutes and from industry".

Stephen Hitchcock, head of drug discovery at Envoy, said the firm is "thrilled that the potential of our original collaboration has been realised. Now we're moving into new therapeutic areas with different biological targets. The first step is to find small molecules that can validate those targets".