Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Astellas and Drais Partner To Develop Third Astellas Compound through Tacurion

Astellas Pharma Inc. and Drais Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that they have entered into a third partnership in the past year to develop and commercialize an Astellas compound. Under the terms of the agreement, Astellas will license ASP7035, of which a phase I study has been completed and is a phase IIa-ready, vasopressin V2 receptor selective agonist for the treatment of nocturia, to Tacurion Pharma, Inc. (“Tacurion”), a virtual company that will be operated by the Drais executive team. The partnership is similar to two prior Astellas and Drais agreements, to advance ASP3291 and ASP7147 through Telsar Pharma, Inc.  and Seldar Pharma, Inc.  respectively – both also virtual companies. As with Telsar and Seldar, Tacurion will be operated by Drais, which has substantial clinical development experience.


Tacurion, Telsar and Seldar all share the same investors: InterWest Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures (two U.S. venture capital firms that are also the lead investors in Drais) plus Astellas Venture Management LLC (the corporate venture capital arm of Astellas). The three groups will invest a total of $15 million into Tacurion. These funds will provide a runway to further the development of ASP7035, with Drais serving as the exclusive provider of development services.