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5 December 2019AmericasSarah Morgan

Astellas doubles down on gene therapy with $3bn Audentes deal

Astellas is set to buy US-based Audentes Therapeutics for approximately $3 billion, as the Japanese pharmaceutical company looks to boost its gene therapy expertise.

Genetic regulation will become a fifth primary focus for Astellas, in addition to existing business lines in immuno-oncology, regeneration and blindness, mitochondria biology and immunotherapy.

The deal, which was announced on Monday, December 2, gives Astellas access to Audentes’ investigational drug, AT132.

AT132 is being developed to treat X-Linked Myotubular Myopathy, a rare neuromuscular disorder, which results in extreme muscle weakness, respiratory failure and early death.

Kenji Yasukawa, president and CEO of Astellas, said: “Audentes has developed a robust pipeline of promising product candidates which are complementary to our existing pipeline.”

The companies plan to seek Food and Drug Administration approval for AT312 in mid-2020.

Matthew Patterson, chairman and CEO of Audentes, added: “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 programs and serve our patients.”

This isn’t Astellas’ first foray into strengthening its genetics expertise with an acquisition—in August last year, Astellas announced it would acquire Quethera, a UK-headquartered gene therapy company focused on developing treatments for ocular disorders.

Astellas isn’t the only company that sees a future in gene therapy.

In February, Switzerland-based Roche said it would buy gene therapy company Spark Therapeutics in a $4.3 billion deal.

One month later, molecular diagnostics company Myriad Genetics agreed to acquire genetic screening company Counsyl for $375 million. That same month, biotech company Thermo Fisher Scientific announced plans to acquire Brammer Bio, a viral vector manufacturer for gene and cell therapies, for $1.7 billion.

This was followed, in April, by contract drug manufacturer Catalent agreeing to acquire Paragon Bioservices, a viral vector development and manufacturing partner for gene therapies, for $1.2 billion.

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More on this story

Asia-Pacific
15 August 2018   Japan-based Astellas Pharma has acquired Quethera, a UK-headquartered gene therapy company focused on developing treatments for ocular disorders.
Americas
25 February 2019   Switzerland-based Roche will buy gene therapy company Spark Therapeutics in a $4.3 billion deal.

More on this story

Asia-Pacific
15 August 2018   Japan-based Astellas Pharma has acquired Quethera, a UK-headquartered gene therapy company focused on developing treatments for ocular disorders.
Americas
25 February 2019   Switzerland-based Roche will buy gene therapy company Spark Therapeutics in a $4.3 billion deal.

More on this story

Asia-Pacific
15 August 2018   Japan-based Astellas Pharma has acquired Quethera, a UK-headquartered gene therapy company focused on developing treatments for ocular disorders.
Americas
25 February 2019   Switzerland-based Roche will buy gene therapy company Spark Therapeutics in a $4.3 billion deal.