Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. has entered an agreement to acquire all outstanding shares Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for approximately $886 million in cash. The transaction is expected to close early in 4Q13, subject to customary closing conditions.
Astex is dedicated to the discovery and development of novel small molecule therapeutics with a particular focus on oncology. Its myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) franchise includes DACOGEN (decitabine) for Injection, which also gained approval in Europe for the treatment of (elderly) acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in patients over 65. Lead clinical development candidates include SGI-110, a subcutaneous hypomethylating agent being evaluated for a variety of hematological and solid tumor oncology indications, and AT13387, a second generation HSP90 inhibitor being evaluated for the treatment of prostate and lung cancers. Astex also has five partner-funded programs that are being developed by Novartis, AstraZeneca, and Janssen.
The acquisition also provides Otsuka with PYRAMID, a drug discovery platform developed by Astex. Otsuka's approved products in the U.S. include: ABILIFY (aripiprazole), SAMSCA (tolvaptan) and IV BUSULFEX (bulsufan).
"We believe that Otsuka's financial resources and development expertise will enhance Astex's ability to build further its oncology portfolio, pipeline, and discovery prowess," said James S.J. Manuso, PhD, chairman and chief executive officer of Astex Pharmaceuticals. "This transaction recognizes the meaningful assets our employees have created. Most importantly, however, patients will benefit substantially from the larger drug discovery, development and commercialization platform a combined Otsuka and Astex will deliver."
Dr. Taro Iwamoto, Otsuka Pharmaceutical's president and representative director, said, "I hope that this acquisition of Astex will strengthen not only our cancer portfolio but also our drug discovery research in the central nervous system field, through the acquisition of Astex's fragment-based drug design technology at its Cambridge, England research headquarters and its CA clinical oncology R&D department. I would like Otsuka Pharmaceutical to continue to respect Astex's uniqueness and leverage it to bring further growth for Otsuka Pharmaceutical."