Astellas buys out Maxygen stake in JV for $76M

Astellas Pharma has exercised a buy-out option to acquire all of Maxygen's ownership interest in Perseid Therapeutics, a protein joint venture between the two companies. They formed the JV back in 2009 to focus on the discovery and R&D of multiple protein pharmaceutical programs, including Maxygen's MAXY-4 program. The transaction is expected to close within three months.  

As part of the deal, Astellas will pay Maxygen $76 million, and Perseid will become its wholly-owned subsidiary. In addition, Astellas will become sole owner of the MAXY-4 program. The MAXY-4 proteins are intended to reduce T-cell activation and thus lessen the immune response that plays a role in rheumatoid arthritis, transplant rejection and more. They also are designed to exhibit an improved therapeutic profile versus Bristol-Myers Squibb's Orencia and belatacept, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports.

This morning, Maxygen climbed 27 percent to $5.21 and rallied 33 percent earlier, the most intraday since July 2008, according to Bloomberg.

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