- Astellas Pharma is acquiring private Belgian drugmaker Ogeda SA for access to a medication aimed at alleviating menopause symptoms.
- The deal adds fezolinetant, a treatment in Phase 2 testing for hot flashes, polycystic ovary syndrome (POS) and uterine fibroids, to Astellas' pipeline. In exchange, the clinical-stage target is receiving €500 million ($533 million) upfront and could take home another $320 million in milestone payments related to fezolinetant development.
- The Japanese pharma also will pick up a few pre-clinical assets, including one under investigation for autoimmune diseases and another for ulcerative colitis. The companies expect the deal to close in the second quarter, at which point Ogeda will serve as an Astellas subsidiary.
Astellas has pushed hard in recent months to expand its pipeline, and has leveraged M&A as a way to speed up the process. Last fall, the company acquired immuno-oncology drugmaker Ganymed for $461 million. And earlier this year, it inked deals with vaccine developer Affinivax and diagnostics business GenomeDx Biosciences.
Most of Astellas' pipeline, however, focuses on oncology rather than women's health. As of January 31, the company only had one treatment under investigation for endometriosis.
"The transaction fits with our strategy to deliver innovative drugs in therapeutic areas with high unmet medical needs," Astellas CEO Yoshihiko Hatanaka said in an April 3 statement.
Astellas did not disclose in that statement how it will pay for the transaction with Ogeda. However, the big drumaker reported $3.1 billion in cash and equivalents as of Dec. 31 — about $100 million less than it had by March 31, the close of its fiscal year.
Investors seemed to respond positively to the news. Astellas stock, which trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, was up about 2% to ¥1,492 ($13.39) on Monday morning.