Astellas, Anokion Partner in Potential $760 MM Deal for Immune-Tolerance Products

Astellas Pharma Inc. and Anokion SA, a biopharmaceutical company based in Lausanne, Switzerland, have formed a collaboration, up to $760 million, research and development for drugs to treat Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. Under the deal, the company has formed a new company, Kanyos Bio, Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to develop clinical candidates in the two selected indications, with an option for Astellas to add a third autoimmune indication as part of the collaboration.

Under the deal, Astellas will provide research funding to Kanyos and holds an option to acquire Kanyos after reaching certain milestones. The total potential deal value of about $760 million includes R&D funding, option exercise, and milestone payments. Astellas will also participate, along with Anokion's existing investors, in a $16 million equity financing for Kanyos.

Anokion is a biotechnology company developing products based on proprietary technology for the induction of antigen-specific immune tolerance. The technology targets antigens to the surfaces of red blood cells in vivo; as the cells circulate, age and are cleared, the associated antigens are processed using the immune system's natural mechanisms to prevent autoimmunity. Anokion's technology has demonstrated the ability to induce immune tolerance to protein drugs and to autoimmune antigens in animal models. The creation of Kanyos will enable preclinical development of products for Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease.

Source: Astellas Pharma

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