Astellas gains Quethera's ophthalmic gene therapy program, which uses a recombinant adeno-associated viral vector system (rAAV) to introduce therapeutic genes into target retinal cells for the treatment of glaucoma. The lead pre-clinical candidate of the program has demonstrated significantly improved survival of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in preclinical models.
"This acquisition demonstrates Astellas' commitment to proactively incorporate state-of-the-art scientific and technological advances and turn them into VALUE for patients," said Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer, Astellas. "We believe the rAAV program has potential as a new therapeutic option for the treatment of refractory glaucoma through an intraocular pressure (IOP)-independent mechanism. It would address a high unmet medical need in glaucoma patients who are at risk of losing their eyesight."
"Quethera's novel technology approach is focused on exploring potential treatment options for common ophthalmic diseases, such as glaucoma, that can cause blindness and severely affect the quality of life for patients," said Peter Widdowson, Ph.D., chief executive officer, Quethera. "This deal enables us to accelerate our evaluation of this investigational technology program to see if we can slow or prevent disease progression for these patients."