Astellas and Potenza link up to build a portfolio of immuno-oncology therapeutics

Astellas takes an option to buy Potenza at the end of the collaboration period

Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma has announced an exclusive research and development collaboration with Potenza Therapeutics, a US biotechnology company developing a portfolio of immuno-oncology programmes.

The companies aim to advance programmes with novel mechanisms of action targeting immune checkpoint pathways, co-stimulatory signals and regulatory T cells.

The agreement includes an option that allows for the future acquisition of Potenza by Astellas on pre-determined terms at the end of the collaboration period.

Daniel Hicklin, Co-founder of Potenza and Chief Executive, said: 'We are at the beginning of a new era in cancer therapy. First-generation immuno-oncology therapeutics have demonstrated meaningful clinical benefit to patients with certain cancers. The new targets and pathways that Potenza is working on offer promise for continued expansion of immunotherapy treatment options.

'We are excited to partner with Astellas to progress our programmes in support of its strategy to become a global leader in oncology and next-generation therapeutics.'

Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, Potenza will lead drug discovery activities and deliver development candidates to Astellas, while Astellas will be responsible for clinical development and commercialisation.

Specific financial terms were not disclosed, but they include an equity investment, option fee, research funding, and potential future acquisition and milestone payments.

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