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Pandion, Astellas sign $795m deal for pancreas-targeted immunomodulators

Pandion Therapeutics has signed a license and collaboration deal worth up to $795m with Japan-based Astellas Pharma to research, develop, and commercialise locally acting immunomodulators for autoimmune diseases of the pancreas.

The collaboration will see the modular biologics and functional immunology expertise of Pandion combined with the advanced therapeutics development and global commercialisation capabilities of Astellas for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

As per the agreement, the US-based Pandion will handle the design and discovery of bispecific drug candidates based on its modular immune effector and tissue tether platform. On the other hand, Astellas will carry out preclinical, clinical and commercialisation activities for the selected candidates emerging from the collaboration.

Pandion CEO Rahul Kakkar said: “A partner whose strategic vision for the potential of local immunomodulation in type 1 diabetes, and deep commitment and capabilities in immunology, will greatly accelerate our R&D efforts and build upon our existing collaboration with the JDRF T1D Fund.

“Type 1 diabetes involves the autoimmune destruction of the patient’s own pancreas. Our tissue targeted immune effectors are designed to directly address this aberrant immune response and modify the disease at the site of immune attack.”

Under the terms of the deal, the US company could be paid up to $45m as upfront and payments pertaining to research and preclinical activities.

Furthermore, the company stands to earn more than $750m in future development and commercial milestone payments from Astellas. This payment will be subject to the development and commercialisation of multiple candidates by the Japanese company for various pancreatic autoimmune diseases.

Additionally, the US pharma company stands to be paid royalties on global net sales of any commercial products that are developed through the collaboration.

Astellas representative director corporate executive vice president, chief strategy officer and chief financial officer Naoki Okamura said: “Astellas positions antigen-specific immune modulation (ASIM) as one of our strategic areas of primary focus and we are engaged in the development of novel therapies for autoimmune diseases using new modality/technology.

“Pandion’s tissue-specific immune modulation technology is anticipated to be the potential next-generation modality for ASIM, which can potentially expand its application to various other autoimmune diseases. We will continue to dedicate our efforts in delivering novel treatments for diseases with high unmet medical needs, pursuing cutting-edge science and technological advances.”

2 NOV 2019


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