Japan's Astellas adds to U.S. ops with regenerative biotech acquisition

Japan's Astellas Pharma said it is paying $379 million in case to buy Ocata Therapeutics, a biotechnology company that specializes in regenerative drugs to treat macular degeneration, according to a report by the Boston Globe.

The acquisition is the latest by a foreign company moving into the Massachusetts technology corridor. Takeda Pharmaceutical and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Group previously bought biotechnology companies in the state, the report said.

With the acquisition, Astellas will take on board seven drug candidates focused on using cell therapy to treat the eye disease macular degeneration, which destroys the central part of the retina, the report said.

Ocata was created in 1994 as Advanced Cell Technology and changed its name in March 2014.

Astellas CEO Yoshihiko Hatanaka

"We highly value Ocata's R&D capabilities, including its world-leading researchers in cell therapy," Yoshihiko Hatanaka, president and CEO of Astellas, said in a press release.

"We're confident that we will turn innovative science into value for patients through the creation of new value by combining both companies' capabilities under 'One Astellas,' where Ocata will be taking a key role in Astellas' R&D in ophthalmology and cell therapy."

- here's the release
- here's the story from the Boston Globe