Astellas will pay up to £85m in upfront and contingent payments.

Cambridge UK-based gene therapy company Quethera Limited has been acquired by Japanese pharmaceutical firm Astellas Pharma for up to £85m in combined upfront and milestone payments.

Astellas purchased Quethera, which is focused on gene therapy treatments for ocular disorders, in order to further expand its position in ophthalmology. Quethera’s technology is based on the use of a recombinant adeno-associated viral vector system (rAAV) to introduce therapeutic genes into target retinal cells for the treatment of glaucoma. Its lead pre-clinical candidate has been shown to improve survival of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in pre-clinical models. 

Quethera will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Astellas upon completion of the transaction.