RARE Daily

Astellas Acquires Nanna Therapeutics for its Mitochondrial Platform

April 21, 2020

Rare Daily Staff

Astellas Pharma has acquired Nanna Therapeutics, a U.K.-based biotech company focused on addressing age-related diseases including rare mitochondria-related diseases.

Nanna is focused on developing innovative modulators of mitochondria, the organelle of the cell at the center of energy production and signaling. Mitochondria have been implicated in numerous human diseases. The company’s pipeline includes experimental therapies for conditions involving mitochondrial dysfunction including MELAS (mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes) syndrome, Kearns-Sayrem syndrome, and Parkinson’s disease.

Astellas paid $15 million (£12 million) for Nanna, which will become a wholly owned subsidiary. In addition, Nanna’s shareholders are eligible to receive potential future development milestone payments of up to $70 million (£57.5 million).

Astellas says the deal significantly bolsters its early stage mitochondrial drug discovery capabilities, one of the pharmaceutical company’s five focus areas.

Nanna’s proprietary screening platform consists of new DNA-encoded chemical libraries (DELs) technology that enables the creation and rapid testing of more diverse chemical libraries, and phenotype-based screening that is not feasible with conventional DELs. It can also be applied to various assay systems including cell-based assays utilizing patient-derived cells, potentially enabling screens that are tailored to specific disease biology.

“Nanna’s platform will accelerate Astellas’ drug discovery research in mitochondria-related biology areas such as autophagy and mitophagy, as well as other research areas such as aging/senescence and immunometabolism,” said Kenji Yasukawa, president and CEO of Astellas.

Photo: Kenji Yasukawa, president and CEO of Astellas


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