In the midst of an unprecedented dealmaking spree that has produced $139 billion in pharmaceutical mergers this quarter alone, one country has been conspicuously absent: Japan. Even such giants as Astellas Pharma and Takeda Pharmaceutical, which have led M&A runs in Japan in the past, have stayed on the sidelines. Why?
Medivation and Astellas Pharma unveiled final results on primary and secondary efficacy endpoints from their Phase III PREVAIL trial of Xtandi (enzalutamide), showing that the drug delayed tumor growth and prolonged the lives of patients with metastatic prostate cancer who previously have not undergone chemotherapy.
Aveo Oncology's long-troubled tivozanib is unlikely to meet its primary endpoint in a study on colorectal cancer, the company said, sending the biotech back to the drawing board after a high-profile failure in kidney cancer.
Xtandi has reached a key milestone: success in a Phase III trial eyeing the drug from Medivation and Astellas as a prechemo treatment for advanced prostate cancer.
Teri Willey has stepped in to take over as vice president of business development and technology transfer at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Cytokinetics is on a roll. After topping off its long-term heart drug development deal with Amgen last week with a $75 million licensing deal covering Japan, the South San Francisco-based biotech is back with a $490 million licensing and discovery deal with Astellas, which is concentrating on muscle weakness and fatigue.
Just a few months after Amgen execs lamented a big Asian gap in their global strategy, the Big Biotech company has joined hands with Astellas to set up a new joint venture in Japan. Amgen is contributing 5 experimental-stage programs to the JV, including their late-stage anti-PCSK9 program for the cholesterol drug AMG-145.
Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma is rolling out a major R&D restructuring effort, shuttering facilities at its OSI Pharmaceuticals and Perseid Therapeutics subsidiaries and cutting back its work at the Astellas Research Institute of America to focus solely on CNS diseases.
Japan's drugmakers aren't any more immune from generic competition than U.S. pharma companies are. Still the country's second- and third-largest drugmakers are predicting sales growth this year, even as low-cost copies drain away sales of their key products. New drugs are coming in to pick up the slack, the companies said.
Astellas and a pair of venture companies have joined forces to launch a spinout virtual biotech which will pick up mid-stage research work on an experimental therapy for nocturia.