Astellas Pharma : Astellas and Drais Partner To Develop Second Astellas Compound through Seldar (pdf 67KB)
Astellas and Drais Partner To Develop Second Astellas
Compound through Seldar
06/04/2012| 03:14am US/Eastern
InterWest Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures and Astellas Venture
Invest $13 Million into Seldar to Advance Compound
TOKYO, JAPAN and BRIDGEWATER, N.J., June 4, 2012 -
Astellas Pharma Inc. (Tokyo: 4503, "Astellas") and
Drais Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Drais") today announced that
they have entered into a second partnership in as many months
to develop and commercialize an Astellas compound. Under the
terms of the agreement, Astellas will transfer ownership of
ASP7147, a bombesin BB2 receptor antagonist for the
of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea, from its pipeline
to Seldar Pharma, Inc. ("Seldar"), a virtual company that
will be operated by the Drais executive team. The
About Astellas Pharma Inc.
partnership is similar to one Astellas and Drais entered into
in April to advance ASP3291
through Telsar, another virtual company. As with Telsar,
Seldar will be operated by Drais, which has substantial
clinical development experience.
Seldar and Telsar both share the same investors: InterWest
Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures (two U.S. venture capital
firms that are also the lead investors in Drais) plus
Astellas Venture Management LLC (the corporate venture
capital arm of Astellas). The three groups will invest a
total of $13 million into Seldar. These funds will provide a
runway to further the development of ASP7147, with Drais
serving as the exclusive provider of development
This partnership is reflective of Astellas' new 'Multi-Track
R&D' approach, in which the company moves select promising
compounds forward without any disruption in the development
process. The approach allows Astellas to optimize costs and
control risks while accessing outside capital and
The partnerships are a long-term enterprise that Astellas and
Drais are considering expanding by moving additional Astellas
compounds into virtual companies for development by Drais.
Working with virtual companies is a straightforward solution
that allows the investors to target their investment to one
compound. Virtual companies also provide a simpler structure
for any future sale of the compound.
The participants in the partnership have all worked together
successfully in the past. Dr. Donna L. Tempel and fellow
Drais co-founder, Dr. Robert E. Desjardins, were previously
the senior management of Yamanouchi R&D (a precursor company
to Astellas) in Paramus, NJ. Later they served as the
executive team of AkaRx, acquired by Eisai/MGI for $300
million in 2010. Dr. Arnold Oronsky, general partner at
InterWest, and Dr. Jeff Bird, managing director at Sutter
Hill Ventures, are both board members and investors in Drais;
they previously held the same positions at AkaRx. Astellas
Venture Management was also an investor in AkaRx.
Under the terms of the agreement, Astellas will transfer to
Seldar all rights and assets related to ASP7147, whose Phase
I Multiple Ascending Dose study will be initiated shortly.
Seldar will be responsible for all development, manufacturing
and commercialization activities and their associated costs.
Astellas is entitled to receive a milestone payment and
royalties on future sales of ASP7147. Astellas also has the
right of first exclusive negotiation for future partnering
activities related to ASP7147 and the
right of first refusal for the Japanese market. The company
also has the right of non- exclusive negotiation for other
Astellas Pharma Inc., located in Tokyo, Japan, is a
pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of
people around the world through the provision of innovative
and reliable pharmaceutical products. Astellas has
approximately 17,000 employees worldwide. The organization is
committed to becoming a global category leader in Urology,
Immunology (including Transplantation) and Infectious
Diseases, Oncology, Neuroscience and Diabetes Mellitus (DM)
Complications and Kidney Diseases. For more information on
Astellas Pharma Inc., please visit the company Website at www.astellas.com/en.
About Astellas Venture Management LLC
Astellas Venture Management's mission is to invest in
emerging biotech companies that combine unique scientific
capabilities with the potential for global market leadership
and a management team driven by ambition for success of the
company. To learn more about Astellas Venture Management,
please visit the company's website at www.astellasventure.com.
About Drais Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Drais Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a privately held drug
development company dedicated to the in-licensing,
development and commercialization of novel therapeutic
treatments that address unmet medical needs, providing
significant benefits over currently available therapies.
About InterWest Partners
Formed in September 2007, Drais completed a Series A
financing round in January
2008 from lead investors, InterWest Partners (Menlo Park, CA)
and Sutter Hill Ventures
(Palo Alto, CA). The Drais management team consists of highly
experienced individuals with a successful track record in the
pharmaceutical industry. Prior to forming Drais, the
management team founded AkaRx, Inc. (acquired by Eisai/MGI in
2010 for $300 million).
Drais is based in Bridgewater, New Jersey.
For more information, please visit: http://www.draispharma.com.
For more than 30 years InterWest (www.interwest.com) has
partnered with exceptional entrepreneurs to build winning
technology and life sciences companies. With more than
About Sutter Hill Ventures
200 years of combined operating and investing experience, our
team has raised $2.8B,
completed more than 70 IPOs, and participated in nearly 60
upside acquisitions. As we invest InterWest X, a $650M fund,
we continue to believe that providing capital is just the
beginning of a long-term collaboration with entrepreneurs to
turn their vision into a thriving company.
Sutter Hill Ventures is a venture capital firm that finances
technology-based start-up and early-stage companies that
pioneer products or services in growth markets, especially
those in information technology and health care. Founded in
1964, it is one of Silicon Valley's original venture
capital firms. For more information about Sutter Hill
Ventures, please visit www.shv.com.
Astellas Pharma Inc.
Tel: +81-3-3244-3201 Fax: +81-3-5201-7473 http://www.astellas.com/en
Drais Pharmaceuticals Inc.
President and CEO
Drais Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Eliot Dobris email@example.com