Japan's Astellas, U.K.'s Potenza in immuno-oncology development deal

Japan's Astellas Pharma and U.K.-based biotech Potenza Therapeutics announced a R&D effort into immuno-oncology therapies centered on checkpoint pathways, co-stimulatory signals and regulatory T cells that could lead to a buyout.

"The agreement includes an option that allows for the future acquisition of Potenza by Astellas on pre-determined terms at the end of the collaboration period," Astellas said in a press release without providing detailed terms of the deal.

However, the basic outline sees Potenza leading drug discovery activities and delivering candidates to Astellas, which will then be responsible for clinical development activities and commercialization, the press release said.

The partnership does include an unspecified equity investment, option fee, research funding, and potential future acquisition and milestone payments, the press release said.

Previously, Potenza closed a Series A equity financing of $38 million in December 2014, led by MPM Capital, with InterWest Partners and Astellas Venture Management LLC participating.

- here's the Astellas release