Japan’s AnGes Acquires EmendoBio, Eying High Precision Gene-Editing Technology

by Tyler Chen
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AnGes, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan that specializes in gene-based medicines. On December 15th, it announced the acquisition of Emendo Biotherapeutics, a CRISPR gene-editing company, for a deal worth US$ 250 million. EmendoBio will act as an independent subsidiary preserving the operation in New York and Israel while having full access to AnGes’s global development resources.


Reasons for the Buyout

EmendoBio possesses a proprietary next-generation novel nuclease discovery and a nuclease optimization platform called OMNI™. The technology can incorporate sophisticated protein engineering and develop a highly accurate gene-editing tool such as allele-specific editing.

AnGes is a gene therapy provider based in Tokyo and Osaka, providing leading products like gene-editing medicines and oligonucleotide molecules. They include Collategene, a Hepatocyte Growth Factor plasmid gene therapy for Lower Limb Ischemic Ulcers, and NF-κB decoy oligonucleotide for Chronic Discogenic Lumbar Back Pain. It is worth noting that Collategene is the world’s first marketed drug using Plasmid DNA and the first gene therapy drug approved in Japan.

Since the pandemic, AnGes has been a frontrunner in vaccine production. The COVID-19 vaccine co-developed by AnGes, Takara Bio, and the University of Osaka has entered clinical trials in June, and it is the first vaccine that has gone into human trials in Japan.

By acquiring EmendoBio, AnGes can reduce the risks of off-target effects in therapeutics and optimize gene-editing and expand targetable genes. This will enable it to reach new heights in gene therapy and develop treatments for untreatable genetic diseases.

Ei Yamada, President, and CEO of AnGes, Inc., said, “the acquisition of EmendoBio represents a key step in AnGes’ strategy to focus on innovative medicines for diseases with high unmet medical needs by identifying unique combinations of genetic medicines and therapeutic modalities based on cutting edge science. This transaction positions AnGes to expand its pipeline and partnerships and introduce gene editing capabilities by leveraging EmendoBio’s proprietary platforms, team of seasoned scientists and researchers, and its valued relationships with academic collaborators and scientific advisors.”


What’s in it for EmendoBio?

EmendoBio was established in 2015 by researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science, one of Israel’s most prestigious institutes. Although EmendoBio is headquartered in the US, the majority of the research and development happens in Israel. As CRISPR-Cas9 gains momentum in the scientific world, EmendoBio has jumped onto the bandwagon of companies that have been developing therapies using the technique. The company has deep expertise in genome editing, and it intends to utilize this knowledge in hematology, oncology, ophthalmology, and other diseases.

David Baram, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of EmendoBio, said, “This transaction underscores the potential of EmendoBio’s novel technology platforms, the promise of our product candidates, and the value that our employees, strategic partners and founding investors, OrbiMed and Takeda Ventures, Inc. have created within the company. The alliance with AnGes brings new resources and synergies to our operations that will accelerate product development, partnerships, and commercial opportunities in the years ahead.”

By Tyler Chen and T. Chakraborty, Ph.D.

Related Article: Pharma Firm AnGes and Osaka University to Initiate Coronavirus Vaccine Testing on Animals



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