Astellas Acquires Stem-Cell Technology Company
Astellas has agreed to acquire Universal Cells, a Seattle, Washington-based biopharmaceutical company. Astellas will gain Universal Cells’ proprietary Universal Donor Cell technology to create cell-therapy products that do not require human leukocyte antigen matching.
In October 2017, the Astellas Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Universal Cells formed an agreement to use Universal Donor Cell technology in a single indication. This new acquisition enables Astellas to use this proprietary technology in more therapeutic areas. The acquisition combines Astellas’ capability of establishing differentiated functional cells from pluripotent stem cells with Universal Cell’s ability to produce pluripotent stem cells that have lower immunological rejection to enable investigation of innovative cell-therapy treatments for various diseases.
Astellas will pay up to $102.5 million of upfront and milestones to acquire 100% ownership of Universal Cells depending on achievement of certain specified clinical milestones. Universal Cells will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Astellas following the close of the acquisition.