Astellas Pharma to buy Belgium's Ogeda for upto $853 mn

Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma Inc yesterday struck a deal to buy Belgium-based privately-owned drug discovery firm Ogeda SA, in an $853-million (€800 million) deal.

Astellas Pharma IncUnder the terms of the transaction, Astellas will pay an upfront payment of around $533 million (€500 million) and could pay Ogeda shareholders another $320 million (€300 million) if the non-hormonal drug, called fezolinetant, reaches certain clinical development and regulatory milestones.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017, after regulatory approval.

The proposed acquisition comes less than six months after Astellas acquired German bio pharmaceutical company Ganymed Pharmaceuticals, for upto $1.4 billion.

Gosselies, Belgium-based Ogeda (earlier known as Euroscreen) is a clinical-stage drug discovery company that invents and develops small molecule drug candidates targeting GPCRs.

Ogeda's orally-available and proprietary lead drug candidate fezolinetant is currently in Phase2 clinical development for the treatment of women's health disorders.

Fezolinetant is an antagonist of the GPCR known as the tachykinin NK3 receptor and acts on specific neurons that control body temperature to directly and safely address the basis for hot flashes and night sweats in menopausal women.

Ogeda has additional small molecules targeting GPCRs in pre-clinical development in multiple therapeutic areas including inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

The 23 year-old company is backed by investors, including Vealius Biocapital II SA Sicar, Fund+ NV, SRIW SA, Capricorn Health-Tech Fund NVHT fund, and BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity Management SA.

"The transaction fits with our strategy to deliver innovative drugs in therapeutic areas with high unmet medical needs. Ogeda has been pioneering the development of a NK3 receptor antagonist fezolinetant for the treatment of MR-VMS", said Yoshihiko Hatanaka, president and CEO of Astellas.

"We welcome the acquisition by Astellas and look forward to developing fezolinetant, first non-hormonal treatment of Hot Flashes / MR-VMS, inside a leading global pharmaceutical company. With its strong development and commercialisation capabilities, resources and vision, I am convinced that Astellas will be able to turn fezolinetant promising clinical results into near-term value for patients,'' said, Jean Combalbert, CEO of Ogeda.

Formed in 2005 through the merger of Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co and Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Co, Tokyo-based Astellas focuses on urology, oncology, immunology, nephrology and neuroscience.

Its global brands include Prograf, Vesicare, Protopic, Harnal, and Funguard.