Tokyo and Mainz, October 28, 2016 - Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Yoshihiko Hatanaka, “Astellas”) and Ganymed Pharmaceuticals AG (CEO; Özlem Türeci, “Ganymed”), a biopharmaceutical company located in Mainz, Germany which focuses on the development of antibodies against cancer, announced today that Astellas and Ganymed’s shareholders have entered into an agreement for Astellas to acquire Ganymed.
The transaction would enable Astellas to continue to build upon its leading oncology franchise as a platform for sustainable growth.
Under the agreement, Astellas will pay EUR 422 million to acquire 100% of the equity in Ganymed. In addition, Ganymed's shareholders will become eligible to receive up to EUR 860 million in further contingent payments based on progress in the development of IMAB362, Ganymed's most advanced clinical program. Upon completion of the transaction, Ganymed would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Astellas. The closing of the transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals, and is expected to be finalized in the next several weeks.
"Oncology is one of our focus therapeutic areas and key drivers for our growth. The acquisition of Ganymed will enable Astellas to further expand our oncology presence by adding a late-stage antibody asset with the potential to establish a new pillar following XTANDI®," commented Yoshihiko Hatanaka, President and CEO, Astellas. "We aim to deliver a potential new therapeutic option to cancer patients who currently have limited treatment options available to them."
Dr. Özlem Türeci, CEO and co-founder of Ganymed said, "I am impressed by the competence, commitment and vision of Astellas. Recognizing their global resources, I am also confident that Astellas will be able to turn innovative science and promising clinical results into near-term value for patients". And Helmut Jeggle, Ganymed's Supervisory Board member and General Manager of the family office of the Strüngmann brothers (Athos Beteiligungsverwaltung GmbH) added, "We are pleased to hand over the Ganymed portfolio with its important novel treatment approaches for unmet needs in solid tumors to a strong and dedicated player in healthcare".
Ganymed is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company founded in 2001 and focuses on the development of a new class of cancer drugs. Ganymed has several oncology pipeline assets in pre-clinical and clinical stages including IMAB362. Recent results of a Phase 2b study (FAST) of IMAB362 in gastroesophageal cancer patients positive for Claudin18.2 showed that IMAB362 extended the median progression-free survival (7.9 months vs. 4.8 months, HR 0.47, p=0.0001) and the median overall survival (13.2 months vs. 8.4 months, HR 0.51, p=0.0001) when added to standard chemotherapy. In the subgroup of patients with the highest levels of Claudin18.2, IMAB362 resulted in near-doubling of overall survival (16.7 months vs. 9.0 months, HR 0.45, p<0.0005). The most frequent adverse effects observed during the study were vomiting, nausea and neutropenia.
Astellas is still reviewing the impact of this transaction on its financial forecasts for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017.
IMAB362 is a new investigational antibody drug that is specific for the tight junction protein Claudin18.2. This unique target is restricted to stomach cells only and is absent from all other healthy tissues. Claudin 18.2 is expressed in various high medical need cancers including in about 80% of gastrointestinal adenocarcinomas, 60% pancreatic tumors as well as in biliary, ovarian and lung cancer. Its mechanism of action includes activation of antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC), complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) and - in combination with chemotherapy - T-cell infiltration and modulation of the tumor microenvironment. IMAB362 has received orphan drug designation in the US and Europe for gastric and pancreatic cancer.
Ganymed Pharmaceuticals AG is a biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of immunotherapeutic cancer drugs called Ideal Monoclonal Antibodies (IMABs). IMABs are unique in that they are highly selective for proteins which are present on tumor cells, but do not bind to healthy cells. This unmatched tumor cell specificity makes IMABs cancer cell selective allowing them to efficiently kill tumor cells without harming normal healthy tissues. They can thus be administered at optimal dose and have a broad therapeutic window with reduced risks of side effects. Ganymed is a private company that was founded in 2001. Its majority shareholder is ATS Beteiligungsverwaltung GmbH. Other investors include MIG Fonds, Future Capital AG, FCP Gany GmbH, and private individuals.
For further information, please visit us at: www.ganymed.ag