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Tokyo's Astellas Pharma acquires I-O company Xyphos Biosciences

Astellas Pharma Inc. acquired Xyphos Biosciences Inc., a privately held biotechnology company developing immune therapies for cancer.

Tokyo's Astellas paid $120 million upon closing of the deal. Considering potential milestone payments, the total value of the transaction is $665 million.

Under the deal, South San Francisco, Calif.-based Xyphos became a wholly owned unit of Astellas. The Japanese drugmaker also gained Xyphos' proprietary technology platform, called ACCEL, which allows for ways to mobilize and control immune cells to destroy targets, such as tumor cells.

Astellas said the deal is in line with its immuno-oncology strategy. "Combining this technology with our capabilities in cell therapy that we have been working on so far, we can create next-generation high-function cells and maximize the value of our technology," the drugmaker said in a news release.