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Astellas poised to acquire neuromuscular disease specialist Audentes for $3bn all-cash

Published on 03/12/19 at 10:32am

Astellas Pharma is set to acquire US-based Audentes Therapeutics in an all-cash deal valued at $3 billion in cash, it has been revealed.

The move was unanimously approved by both companies’ Boards of Directors, with the proposed valuation equating to $60 per share – a premium of 110% to Audentes’ share price as of 2 December this year.

With the merger, Astellas will gain access to the “near-term growth opportunity” known as AT132, a drug candidate currently being developed for the treatment of the rare and potentially life-threatening neuromuscular disease X-linked myotubular myopathy (XLMTM).

Additionally, the two parties hope that the partnership will drive the accelerated development of a raft of rare neuromuscular disease drugs by capitalising on the strengths of both companies: Astellas’ resources and scientific capacity, and Audentes’ expertise in neuromuscular disease, its cGMP manufacturing capabilities and its AAV gene therapy technology platform.

“Recent scientific and technological advances in genetic medicine have advanced the potential to deliver unprecedented and sustained value to patients, and even to curing diseases with a single intervention,” said Astellas CEO Kenji Yasukawa. “Audentes has developed a robust pipeline of promising product candidates which are complementary to our existing pipeline, including its lead program AT132 for the treatment of XLMTM. By joining together with Audentes’ talented team, we are establishing a leading position in the field of gene therapy with the goal of addressing the unmet needs of patients living with serious, rare diseases.”

Matthew R Patterson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Audentes, also commented: “We are very pleased to enter into this merger agreement with Astellas. With its focus on innovative science and a global network of research, development and commercialisation resources, we believe that operating as part of the Astellas organisation optimally positions us to advance our pipeline programmes and serve our patients.”

Matt Fellows

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