stem-cells-istock-577639302_posteriori
posteriori / iStockphoto.com
16 February 2018Americas

Astellas Pharma expands portfolio by acquiring Universal Cells

Japan-based Astellas Pharma has acquired US-based Universal Cells in a move that will allow it to develop universal donor cell technology.

The acquisition, worth $102.5 million, will enable Astellas to use the technology to create cell therapy products that do not require human leukocyte antigen (HLA).

HLA is a system that helps the immune system distinguish between the body’s own proteins and those made up of foreign agencies such as viruses and bacteria.

According to a press release, this could have the potential to overcome a significant treatment challenge by reducing the risk of rejection.

Universal Cells’ website says that a major advantage of universal donor cells is that a “single cell line can be differentiated into a therapeutic cell type, tested for regulatory approval, and used in multiple recipients, creating an off-the-shelf product”.

In October 2017, the Astellas Institute for Regenerative Medicine entered into an exclusive licence agreement with Universal Cells to use universal donor cell technology in a single indication. The new acquisition will give Astellas the capability to explore the technology in even more therapeutic areas.

The transaction will enhance Astellas’ ability to establish different functional cells from pluripotent stem cells and Universal Cells’ ability to produce pluripotent stem cells that have lower immunological rejection join forces.

The deal will mean that Astellas will be able to further investigate innovative cell therapy treatments for diseases that currently have few or no treatment options.

Yoshihiko Hatanaka, president and CEO of Astellas, said that it has been impressed with Universal Cells’ work in cell therapy, which resulted in the initial collaboration and subsequent acquisition.

“This additional capability will further enable Astellas to develop potential innovative cell therapies for numerous diseases with high unmet medical needs.”

Claudia Mitchell, CEO of Universal Cells, added that the company is “thrilled” to be able to use its potential.

“The acquisition represents the recognition of the immense potential of our unique technology and of the outstanding work done by our team at Universal Cells.”

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories sent like this straight to your inbox.

Join us at LSPN North America on April 26. Until February 23 delegate passes are available to in-house counsel at a special rate of $525 and to private practice attorneys at $1185 - representing significant savings against the standard delegate rates.

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at atapping@newtonmedia.co.uk


More on this story

Americas
24 October 2016   Japanese drug company Astellas has filed a complaint against Canada-based Apotex for allegedly infringing its patents centring on the drug Myrbetriq.
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.

More on this story

Americas
24 October 2016   Japanese drug company Astellas has filed a complaint against Canada-based Apotex for allegedly infringing its patents centring on the drug Myrbetriq.
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.

More on this story

Americas
24 October 2016   Japanese drug company Astellas has filed a complaint against Canada-based Apotex for allegedly infringing its patents centring on the drug Myrbetriq.
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.