Astellas Pays €800 Million for Ogeda

07.04.2017 -

Japan’s Astellas Pharma has agreed to buy privately held Belgian drug developer Ogeda in a transaction worth up to €800 million. The acquisition expands the Tokyo-headquartered group’s late-stage pipeline and is expected to contribute to its mid-to-long term growth.

Formerly named Euroscreen, Ogeda is a clinical-stage drug discovery company that discovers and develops small molecule drugs targeting G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Its lead investigational candidate is fezolinetant, a proprietary, oral, small molecule that is currently being developed to treat menopause-related vasomotor symptoms (MR-VMS).

A selective NK3 receptor antagonist, the drug acts on specific neurons that control body temperature to directly address the basis for hot flushes in menopausal women. Positive data from a Phase 2a study was released in January 2017 showing that 80 menopausal women suffering from MR-VMS saw a significant improvement when they took fezolinetant compared to those taking the placebo.

Under the terms of the deal, Astellas will make an initial payment of €500 million for 100% of Ogeda’s equity on completion. Ogeda shareholders are also eligible to receive another €300 million when certain clinical development and regulatory milestones for fezolinetant are achieved. Once the transaction is closed, which is expected in the second quarter of 2017 subject to the usual conditions, Ogeda will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Astellas.

Yoshihiko Hatanaka, president and CEO of Astellas said the acquisition fits with its strategy to deliver innovative drugs in therapeutic areas with high unmet medical needs. The Gosselies-based company has additional small molecules targeting GPCRs in pre-clinical development in multiple therapeutic areas, including inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.