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Business

Japanese firms reach out

by Michael McCoy
April 10, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 15

Continuing its search outside Japan for promising assets, Astellas Pharma has agreed to acquire Ogeda, a Belgian firm developing small-molecule drugs targeting G protein-coupled receptors. Astellas will pay about $535 million plus $320 million if Ogeda hits certain milestones. Ogeda’s lead candidate, fezolinetant, is a selective NK3receptor antagonist being developed to treat menopausal hot flashes. Ogeda announced favorable Phase IIa clinical trial results in January. Last fall, Astellas paid $470 million to acquire the German oncology drug discovery firm Ganymed Pharmaceuticals. Astellas’s main Japanese rival, Takeda Pharmaceutical, has likewise been active outside its home country. In January, Takeda said it would spend $5.2 billion to acquire Cambridge, Mass.-based Ariad Pharmaceuticals, which markets the blood cancer treatment Iclusig. Late last month, Takeda completed a postdeal consolidation program. Of the roughly 300 legacy Ariad employees, only 120 will get jobs with Takeda. In addition, 50 employees could get jobs at PRA Health Sciences, a contract research firm that last year took over much of Takeda’s drug development and postapproval R&D.

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