Astellas acquires gene therapy group Quethera in £85 million deal

pharmafile | August 13, 2018 | News story | Sales and Marketing Astellas, Japan, gene therapy, ocular, quethera, vision 

The Japanese company Astellas Pharma has acquired British gene therapy group Quethera in a deal worth up to £85 million.

The Tokyo-based pharma company is set to acquire the Cambridge-based firm whose work focuses on the development of novel treatments for ocular disorders such as glaucoma. The move gives Astellas access to Quethera’s gene therapy program which aims to introduce therapeutic genes into target retinal cells for the treatment of glaucoma.

Under the terms of the deal Astellas could pay as much as £85 million in both upfront and contingent payments. Quethera will thus become a fully owned subsidiary of the Japanese drug maker

“This acquisition demonstrates Astellas’ commitment to proactively incorporate state-of-the-art scientific and technological advances and turn them into VALUE for patients,” said the firm’s President and Chief Executive Kenji Yasukawa.

He continued in saying “We believe the rAAV program has potential as a new therapeutic option for the treatment of refractory glaucoma through an intraocular pressure (IOP)-independent mechanism. It would address a high unmet medical need in glaucoma patients who are at risk of losing their eyesight.”

The deal has come after it was revealed in April that Astellas plans to spend 200 billion yen (£1.4 billion) on deals in an effort to diversify its portfolio. Earlier this year, the Japanese drugmaker completed the acquisitions of Universal Cells and Mitobridge.

Louis Goss

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