Astellas, Minovia partner on mitochondrial cell therapies

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

July 30, 2021 -- Astellas Pharma and Minovia Therapeutics have signed a strategic collaboration and license agreement for the research, development, and commercialization of novel cell therapy programs for diseases caused by mitochondrial dysfunction.

As part of the collaboration, the companies will create allogeneic mitochondrial cell therapy programs. Jointly, the companies will research candidates comprised of cells derived from Astellas' proprietary genetically engineered, induced pluripotent stem cells and modified with Minovia's proprietary mitochondrial augmentation therapy (MAT) technology. The goal is to treat mitochondrial dysfunction through the transfer of healthy mitochondria.

MAT technology involves isolating a patient's own cells, loading them with healthy mitochondria obtained from a healthy donor, and reinfusing the cells back into the patient. Minovia is currently investigating the platform with preclinical research and clinical studies.

Astellas is leveraging its U.S. subsidiaries, the Astellas Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Universal Cells, as part of its efforts to develop allogeneic, off-the-shelf, differentiated cell therapy programs derived from pluripotent stem cells.

The collaboration follows Astellas' recent acquisition of Mitobridge and Nanna Therapeutics and will extend the company's capabilities in mitochondrial biology.

Under the agreement, Minovia will receive an upfront cash payment of $20 million. Further, if Astellas develops and commercializes product candidates for diseases caused by mitochondrial dysfunction, Minovia is eligible to receive up to $420 million per product in future development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments from Astellas.

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