Pharma Focus Asia

Astellas announces acquisition of Quethera

Monday, August 13, 2018

Astellas Pharma Inc and Quethera Limited announced today that Astellas has acquired Quethera, a UK-based gene therapy company focused on the development of novel eye care treatments such as glaucoma.

Through this transaction, Astellas has acquired Quethera's ophthalmic gene therapy program, which utilizes a recombinant adeno-associated viral vector system (rAAV) to introduce therapeutic genes into retinal target cells for the treatment of glaucoma. The program's leading preclinical candidate has demonstrated significantly improved survival of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in preclinical models.

"This acquisition demonstrates Astellas' commitment to proactively capitalizing on the latest advances in science and technology and transforming it into a VALUE for patients," said Dr. Kenji Yasukawa , President and CEO of Astellas, "We believe that the rAAV program will serve as a new therapeutic option for the treatment of refractory glaucoma by a mechanism independent of intraocular pressure, it would meet a high medical need for glaucoma patients who might lose their sight. "

"Quethera's novel technology approach focuses on exploring potential treatment options for common eye diseases, such as glaucoma, which can lead to blindness and severely impair the quality of life for patients," said Dr. Peter Widdowson , CEO of Quethera . speed up the evaluation of this technology program, so we can see if we can slow or prevent the progression of the disease in these patients. "

UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund (UKI2S) supported the company in August 2015 with a co-investment from Cambridge Enterprise and then made another investment.

Under the terms of the purchase agreement, Astellas may pay up to £ 85 million (advance payments and conditional payments) to Quethera shareholders to acquire Quethera. Upon completion of the transaction, Quethera became a wholly owned subsidiary of Astellas.

The impact of this transaction on Astellas' financial results for the year ended March 31, 2019 is not expected to be material.

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