Astellas buys U.S. biotech Xyphos for a whopping $665 million

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Astellas Pharma Inc., Japan’s second-largest drugmaker by sales

Astellas Pharma Inc., a Japanese pharmaceutical company recently announced to have bought the U.S. based Xyphos Biosciences Inc. A whopping deal worth $665 million was signed, which included potential development milestones too. Astellas paid $120 million at the beginning of the deal to Xyphos and the rest are said to be milestone payments as asserted by both the companies. The deal seems to benefit the company’s vision to expand its immuno-oncology business.

This is the company’s second acquisition this month. The first one was disclosed earlier in which it was told that Astellas had agreed to purchase Audentes Therapeutics Inc. The deal is estimated to cost around $3 billion. With Audentes being a generic medicine company, this deal is aimed to widen Astellas’s reach in the generic medicine field too.

Immuno-Oncology: a Fight Against Cancer

Although being researched and amply sorted out, cancer still remains one of the deadliest and scariest diseases of this era. Immuno-Oncology is a treatment that uses the body’s own defense system to fight against cancer. Proprietary molecules from Xyphos’ can be delivered to natural immune cells or to engineered Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) cells which results in the generation of immunotherapies for oncology. Astellas have their primary focus on this treatment. This deal will help the Japanese firm to gain Xyphos’ cell therapy technology platform and its research team.

“Combining this technology with our capabilities in cell therapy that we have been working on so far, we can create next-generation high-function cells and maximize the value of our technology,” said Kenji Yasukawa, Astellas President.

The Japanese Dominating Healthcare Sector

Japanese companies have been dominating the healthcare sector for the last few years. They have been involved in more than 30 acquisitions worth about $6 billion in the healthcare sector this year. According to data, this is still overshadowed by a $59 billion takeover of Britain’s Shire Plc. by Japanese market leader Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd. in 2018. Astellas’ deal with Audentes proved to be its second-biggest deal after their purchase of OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $3.8 billion. On the brink of the New Year, Astellas has managed to gain 0.7% shares in the stock market.



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