2021-08-03| Asia-Pacific

Astellas Makes a $440M+ Pact with Minovia to Develop Mitochondrial Cell Therapies

by Tyler Chen
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Mitochondrial dysfunction is a genetic condition where the mitochondria fail to produce enough energy for the cell and could lead to diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, cancer, or diabetes. The tricky thing is that the condition could affect most body parts, including the brain, nerves, heart, eyes, or pancreas. Unfortunately, it currently has no cure.


A $440+ Million Deal to Challenge the Status Quo

On July 30th, Japan’s Astellas Pharma and Israel-based biotech Minovia Therapeutics announced a $440 million plus deal, aiming to develop and commercialize allogeneic cell therapies for mitochondrial diseases.

As per the terms, Astellas will provide its genetically engineered, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), a type of cell that can turn into all adult cells, while Minovia will use its mitochondrial augmentation therapy (MAT) platform to develop treatments that infuse healthy mitochondria to the mitochondrial dysfunctional cells and cure the disease.


Accelerating Off-the-Shelf Cell Therapy Development

Under the agreement, Minovia will receive $20 million upfront and $420 million per product in future development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments from Astellas.

“We believe this partnership is critical to accelerating the development of off-the-shelf, allogeneic cell therapy programs for the many patients living with mitochondrial diseases caused by mitochondrial dysfunction,” said Minovia’s co-founder and CEO, Natalie Yivgi-Ohana, Ph.D.

It should be noted that the platform is still under clinical trials and is used on patients with Pearson syndrome, one of the mitochondrial diseases, with autologous CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells. The Phase I/II trial began dosing in June 2019 and is the first mitochondrial cell therapy trial to treat mitochondrial disease.

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