RARE Daily

Astellas Terminates Partnership with Cartesian to Develop Pompe Disease Therapeutic

March 18, 2024

Rare Daily Staff

Astellas is terminating a license and development agreement signed last year with Cartesian Therapeutics to develop a therapeutic for Pompe disease, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The deal, signed in January 2023 with Selecta Biosciences, granted Astellas an exclusive license to Selecta’s IdeXork technology and produced Xork, an immunoglobulin G protease that, combined with Astellas’ AAV gene therapy, targeted Pompe disease.

Pompe disease is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme acid alpha-glucosidase, which can manifest from a rapidly fatal infantile form with significant impacts to heart function, to a more slowly progressive, late-onset form primarily affecting skeletal muscle and progressive respiratory involvement.

Under the terms of the original deal, Selecta received $10 million upfront and was eligible for up to $350 million in potenital milestone payments, sales, and royalties. Selecta was responsible for the development and manufacturing of Xork and maintained the right to develop other indications beyond Pompe.

Selecta ran into a cash crunch and merged with Cartesian in November 2023. Cartesian said the termination will be effective on June 6, 2024, following which it will have no remaining financial commitments or liabilities related to the Xork product candidate. The company also said it did not incur any early termination penalties.

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