Sun, 03-Jul-2022
Tuesday 03 Dec 2019 , 6:21 am

Japan’s Astellas to Buy Audentes for $3 Billion in Gene Therapy Push

The all-cash deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020 and is subject to regulatory approval including U.S. antitrust clearance.
By SIN Bureau
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Japan’s Astellas Pharma Inc. has agreed to buy Audentes Therapeutics Inc. for about $3 billion in cash as it seeks to make genetic medicines a key area of growth.

Gene therapies are one of the hottest areas of drug research and Astellas, Japan’s second-largest drugmaker by sales, is offering $60 per share for San Francisco-based Audentes, a 110% premium to its closing price on Monday.

Gene therapies aim to cure diseases by replacing the missing or mutated version of a gene found in a patient’s cells with healthy copies. With the potential to cure devastating illnesses in a single dose, drugmakers say they justify prices well above $1 million per patient.

Audentes’ investigational drug, AT132, is being developed to treat a rare genetic neuromuscular disorder, which results in extreme muscle weakness, respiratory failure and in some cases early death.

“Audentes has developed a robust pipeline of promising product candidates which are complementary to our existing pipeline, including its lead program AT132,” Astellas Chief Executive Kenji Yasukawa said in a news release.

The companies plan to seek FDA approval for AT312 in mid-2020. The drug has shown promising results in the treatment of X-linked myotubular myopathy (XLMTM) seen mainly in male infants.

Shares in Astellas fell 1.3% on Tuesday in Tokyo, underperforming a 0.6% decline in the broader market.

Morgan Stanley & Co LLC, is Astellas’ financial adviser while Covington & Burling LLP is the company’s legal counsel.

Centerview Partners LLC is acting as financial adviser to Audentes and Fenwick & West LLP is its legal counsel.

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Neha Mule

Neha writes articles on sectors including medicine, food, materials, and science & technology. A qualified statistician, she has the ability to observe and analyze the trends in global markets and write compelling articles that help CXOs in decision making. She is a bookworm and loves to read fiction, lifestyle, science and technology. Neha comes with 6 years of experience in content writing and editing that involves blog writing, preparation of study materials and OERs.

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