Japan-based Astellas Pharma has agreed to acquire AAV-based genetic medicines company Audentes Therapeutics for a total equity value of around $3bn.
Under the deal, Astellas US Holding wholly-owned subsidiary Asilomar Acquisition will acquire Audentes by paying $60 per share in cash.
Audentes chairman and CEO Matthew Patterson said: “With its focus on innovative science and a global network of research, development and commercialization resources, we believe that operating as part of the Astellas organization optimally positions us to advance our pipeline programs and serve our patients.”
Audentes is involved in the development and commercialisation of novel products to treat rare neuromuscular diseases.
It uses its AAV gene therapy technology platform and advanced manufacturing expertise for the development of programmes across three modalities: gene replacement, vectorised exon skipping and vectorised RNA knockdown.
The acquisition of Audentes will allow the company to expand its Astellas Focus Area approach, which is designed to create novel medicines for diseases with high unmet medical requirements.
Astellas believes that the addition of the fifth primary focus area in genetic regulation will serve as a crucial factor for the company’s future growth.
The deal will allow access to the near-term growth opportunity of Audentes’ AT132, which is under development to treat XLMTM neuromuscular disease that is characterised by extreme muscle weakness, respiratory failure and early death.
Also, the acquisition will help boost the development of advanced genetic medicines for rare neuromuscular diseases by combining Astellas’ scientific capabilities and global resources with Audentes’ AAV gene therapy technology platform, in-house large-scale cGMP manufacturing and neuromuscular development expertise.
The acquisition is anticipated to be concluded in the first calendar quarter of 2020.
On the transaction, Morgan Stanley, through its affiliate Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, is serving as the exclusive financial advisor to Astellas while Covington & Burling is providing legal services to the company.
For Audentes, Centerview Partners is acting as the exclusive financial advisor and Fenwick & West is serving as the legal counsel on the transaction.
Astellas president and CEO Kenji Yasukawa said: “Audentes has developed a robust pipeline of promising product candidates which are complementary to our existing pipeline, including its lead program AT132 for the treatment of X-Linked Myotubular Myopathy (XLMTM).
“By joining together with Audentes’ talented team, we are establishing a leading position in the field of gene therapy with the goal of addressing the unmet needs of patients living with serious, rare diseases.”
In October this year, Pandion Therapeutics signed a licence and collaboration deal worth up to $795m with Japan-based Astellas Pharma to research, develop, and commercialise locally acting immunomodulators for autoimmune diseases of the pancreas.