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Astellas offers USD 3bn for Audentes
Posted on Tuesday, 03 December 2019 09:37
Astellas Pharma is proposing to take Audentes Therapeutics private for an equity value of USD 3.00 billion to add a fifth focus area in genetic regulation to its business.

The deal is the sixth-largest outbound acquisition on record featuring a Japanese suitor targeting the pharmaceutical, biotechnology or life sciences industry, according to Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk.

Astellas is carrying out the deal via newly-established, wholly-owned vehicle Asilomar, which is offering USD 60.00 apiece in cash.

Its proposal represents a premium of 110.0 per cent to Audentes’ unaffected closing price of USD 28.61 on 2nd December, being the last trading day prior to the announcement.

The Californian biotechnology company was incorporated in November 2012 to focus on developing adeno-associated viral-based (AAV-based) gene therapies for patients living with serious rare neuromuscular diseases.

It has programmes across three modalities: gene replacement, vectorised exon skipping and vectorised RNA knockdown.

Audentes has built a portfolio of candidates, including AT132 for the treatment of X-Linked myotubular myopathy; AT845 for Pompe disease; AT702, AT751 and AT753 for Duchenne muscular dystrophy; and AT466 for myotonic dystrophy type 1.

The company is in the process of completing enrolment in the pivotal expansion cohort of ASPIRO, a clinical trial of AT132.

It intends to submit a biologics licence application with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in mid-2020 for the candidate, and a marketing authorisation application with the European Medicines Agency in the second half of 2020.

Audentes presented an investigation new drug tender for AT845 to the FDA in September 2019 – the regulator’s review is ongoing.

The takeover would give Astellas exposure to a robust pipeline of potentially best-in-class genetic medicines, will create the opportunity for additional partnerships and expansion, and scale up the group’s capabilities in gene therapy.

© Zephus Ltd