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Company

Eye health firm acquired for more than $150 million

03/10/2018
UK-based eye health company Quethera has been sold to Astellas Pharma in a deal that could net shareholders up to £85 million (AU$153.88 m).

The acquisition includes Quethera’s ophthalmic gene therapy program, which uses a recombinant adeno-associated viral vector system (rAAV) to introduce therapeutic genes into target retinal cells for the treatment of glaucoma.

“We believe the rAAV program has potential as a new therapeutic option for the treatment of refractory glaucoma through an intraocular pressure (IOP)-independent mechanism. It would address a high unmet medical need in glaucoma patients who are at risk of losing their eyesight,” president and CEO of Astellas Dr Kenji Yasukawa said.

According to the companies, the lead pre-clinical candidate of Quethera’s program has demonstrated significantly improved survival of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in pre-clinical models.

“Quethera’s novel technology approach is focused on exploring potential treatment options for common ophthalmic diseases, such as glaucoma, that can cause blindness and severely affect the quality of life for patients,” Quethera CEO Dr Peter Widdowson said.

“This deal enables us to accelerate our evaluation of this investigational technology program to see if we can slow or prevent disease progression for these patients.”

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