Astellas Pharma announced a collaboration agreement with Pandion Therapeutics to discover and develop bispecific drug candidates as potential treatments for Type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases of the pancreas.
Under the agreement, Pandion will use its proprietary modular immune effector and tissue tether platform to design the candidates and Astellas will be responsible for the pre-clinical and clinical work, as well as the commercialization of the products.
The collaboration could ‘greatly’ accelerate Pandion’s R&D efforts, Rahul Kakkar, the company's CEO, commented, adding that the company’s tissue-targeting immune effectors are designed to directly address the autoimmune destruction of the pancreas and modify the disease at the site of the immune attack.
On her side, Astella’s CFO, Naoki Okamura, commented that Pandion’s platform is anticipated to be the ‘next-generation modality’ for antigen-specific immune modulation, with the potential to expand its application to various other autoimmune diseases.
Astellas agreed to pay Pandion up to $45m (€52m) as an upfront payments, plus further potential fees related to research and preclinical activities, and milestone payments depending on the development and commercialization of potential treatments, which could exceed $750m (€867m).
This latest deal follows a recent announcement from Astellas regarding the funding of two biotech incubators that would cultivate start-up companies focused on cell and gene therapies.