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Astellas Pharma closes $3B acquisition of Audentes Therapeutics

Japanese drugmaker Astellas Pharma Inc. completed the acquisition of San Francisco-based Audentes Therapeutics Inc. in a deal holding an equity value of about $3 billion.

Astellas said it completed a tender offer to acquire all the issued and outstanding shares of Audentes at $60 apiece through its subsidiary Asilomar Acquisition Corp. and has merged Audentes with the unit.

By the end of the tender offer period on Jan. 14, about 76.7% of Audentes' outstanding common stock was validly tendered.

Natalie Holles, who had been Audentes' president and COO, was appointed as its president and CEO, Astellas said in a Jan. 15 press release.

Astellas added that Audentes will operate as its unit and serve as a center of excellence for its newly created Genetic Regulation Primary Focus program for developing and commercializing AAV-based genetic drugs.

Tokyo-based Astellas noted the acquisition would strengthen the combined company's position in genetic medicines, which are based on Adeno-associated virus, or AAV. Astellas said earlier that the deal creates opportunities for additional gene therapy partnerships besides gaining Audentes' lead program AT132 to treat a rare neuromuscular disease called X-linked myotubular myopathy.

Holles said the company plans to submit a biologics license application for AT132 to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration later in 2020.

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, through its affiliate Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. Ltd., was the exclusive financial adviser, while Covington & Burling LLP acted as legal counsel to Astellas.

Centerview Partners LLC was the exclusive financial adviser, and Fenwick & West LLP acted as legal counsel to Audentes.