Astellas Pharma Invests $50M To Support Taysha's Gene Therapy Programs

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  • Japan-based Astellas Pharma Inc ALPMF ALPMY announced a strategic investment to support the advancement of Taysha Gene Therapies Inc's TSHA adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy development programs for of Rett syndrome and Giant Axonal Neuropathy (GAN).
  • In March this year, Taysha slashed 35% of its workforce and narrowed its R&D focus to extend its cash runway to Q4 of 2023.
  • It also narrowed its focus to registration-directed gene therapy programs in GAN and Rett syndrome. 
  • Under the terms of the agreement, Astellas will invest $50 million to acquire a 15% stake in Taysha and receive an exclusive option to license two of Taysha's clinical-stage programs: TSHA-102 for Rett syndrome and TSHA-120 for GAN. 
  • In addition, Taysha has granted Astellas certain rights related to any potential change of control of Taysha. 
  • To further strategically align Astellas and Taysha with its equity investment, Astellas will receive one Board observer seat on Taysha's Board of Directors.
  • In December 2019, Astellas bought another gene therapy player Audentes Therapeutics Inc for an equity value of approximately $3 billion.
  • Following the Audentes acquisition, researchers reported the deaths of three boys given Audentes' lead gene therapy for X-linked myotubular myopathy, causing testing to be suspended. 
  • The trial later resumed but was halted after a fourth boy's death. The study remains on clinical hold as of August 1 this year.
  • Price Action: TSHA shares are up 39.70% at $2.11 during the premarket session on the last check Tuesday.
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