Tokyo Pharma Company Astellas Acquires UK-Based Biotech Firm Nanna

astellas

This is Astellas’ second acquisition of the year.

Tokyo-based multinational pharma company Astellas announced earlier this week that it had acquired U.K.-based biotech company Nanna Therapeutics, through a share purchase agreement executed by its UK subsidiary, Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd.

The deal was settled at GBP 12 million (about US $14.7 million), and former Nanna shareholders are eligible to receive up to GBP 57.5 million (about US $70.8 million) as “potential future development milestone payments,” a statement from the company said.

It added that the acquisition is not likely to affect Astellas’ financial results for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021.

This is the second acquisition that Astellas has made this year, after it acquired San Francisco-based Audentes Therapeutics in January. The company also completed the acquisition of its own shares in February, and underwent a management restructuring in February.

Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., President and CEO at Astellas, said in the statement, “We believe this acquisition will enable us to create new solutions that address unmet medical needs by combining Nanna’s unique technology platform with our research and development capabilities related to mitochondrial diseases.”

He added that the acquisition will combine Nanna’s technology with Astellas’ research and development capacity to cater to unmet medical needs pertaining to mitochondrial disease.

David Williams, Ph.D., CEO at Nanna, said in the statement “We are focused on developing innovative modulators of mitochondria. This critical organelle, the center of energy production and signaling in almost every cell, is implicated in numerous human diseases.”

Nanna is a drug discovery company with a focus on treatment of age-related diseases, particularly those linked to mitochondrial dysfunction such as Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathy, Lactic Acidosis and Stroke-like episodes (MELOS) syndrome, Kearns-Sayre syndrome and Parkinson’s disease.

Its proprietary screening platform, which is designed to improve drug discovery, allows for expanded mitochondria-related research.

“Nanna’s platform will accelerate Astellas’ drug discovery research in mitochondria-related biology areas such as autophagy and mitophagy, as well as other research areas such as aging/senescence and immunometabolism,” Yasukawa added in the statement.

Combining the screening platform with newer DNA-encoded chemical library (DELs) technology can help Astellas strengthen its early stage drug development capabilities, the statement noted. This approach can be applied to various assay systems and support phenotype-based screening, unlike conventional DELs.

Earlier this month, Astellas entered into an agreement with Japan-based global video game developer and publisher BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, to co-develop a smartphone application and other devices that promote and support exercise as a regular lifestyle choice.

Astellas has also recently entered into a strategic partnership with another therapeutics platform CytomX Therapeutics for the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel T-cell engaging antibodies towards potential treatments for cancer.

The partnership will leverage CytomX’s Probody therapeutic technology platform, proprietary bispecific formats and CD3 modules. The deal entailed an upfront cash payment of $80 million with future milestone payments of up to $1.6 billion to CytomX.

Header image by Starline on Freepik

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