Tokyo, Japan-based pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503) has acquired Quethera Limited, a Cambridge, UK-based gene therapy company focused on developing novel treatments for ocular disorders, such as glaucoma.
Under the terms of the purchase agreement, Astellas may pay up to £85m in aggregate consideration (upfront and contingent payments) to Quethera shareholders.
Upon the closing of the deal, Quethera has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Astellas.
The acquisition aims to further Astellas’ commitment to innovation in ophthalmology with addition of Quethera’s novel gene therapy program, which uses a recombinant adeno-associated viral vector system (rAAV) to introduce therapeutic genes into target retinal cells for the treatment of glaucoma. The lead pre-clinical candidate of the program has demonstrated improved survival of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in pre-clinical models.
Co-founded in 2013 by Dr. Peter Widdowson (Quethera’s CEO) and Professor Keith Martin (Professor and Head of Ophthalmology, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge), Quethera is a gene therapy company dedicated to improving the future treatment of common blinding eye diseases. Founding investor, UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund (UKI2S), backed the company with co-investment from Cambridge Enterprise in August 2015 and followed with subsequent investment.