Astellas acquires mitochondrial specialist for $15m

Astellas Pharma has acquired Nanna Therapeutics, a UK biotech focused on addressing age-related diseases with high unmet medical need including mitochondria-related diseases

Astellas Pharma has acquired Nanna Therapeutics, a biotech company headquartered in the UK, for £12 million ($14.9m). Nanna is focused on addressing age-related diseases with high unmet medical need including mitochondria-related diseases, and has now become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Astellas.

Adding Nanna's proprietary and advanced screening platform with new DNA-encoded chemical libraries (DELs) technology significantly bolsters Astellas' early stage drug development capabilities. Nanna's capabilities enable the creation and rapid testing of more diverse chemical libraries. The approach enables phenotype-based screening which is not feasible with conventional DELs. It can also be applied to various assay systems including cell-based assays utilising patient-derived cells, potentially enabling screens that are tailored to a specific disease biology.

"We believe this acquisition will enable us to create new solutions that address unmet medical needs by combining Nanna's unique technology platform with our research and development capabilities related to mitochondrial diseases," said Kenji Yasukawa, President and CEO of Astellas. "Nanna's platform will accelerate Astellas' drug discovery research in mitochondria-related biology areas such as autophagy and mitophagy, as well as other research areas such as aging/senescence and immunometabolism."

"We are focused on developing innovative modulators of mitochondria. This critical organelle, the center of energy production and signaling in almost every cell, is implicated in numerous human diseases" said David Williams, CEO of Nanna. "We are excited to become part of Astellas, which has a strong record of research and development in mitochondrial biology, and we strive to help expand on these achievements."

Consideration for the acquisition, £12 million, was paid upon closing of the acquisition, and Nanna became a wholly owned subsidiary of Astellas. In addition to this payment, Nanna's shareholders are eligible to receive potential future development milestone payments of up to £57.5 million.

The impact of this transaction on Astellas' financial results for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, is expected to be immaterial.

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