Japanese firm intends to leave Astex’s fragment-based R&D efforts intact

Japanese firm Otsuka has agreed to buy the Anglo-American Astex Pharmaceuticals for $886 million (£569 million) in cash. The deal gives Otsuka access to revenues from Astex’s blood cancer drug Dacogen (decitabine), as well as other candidates in clinical development.

It also includes Astex’s fragment-based drug discovery arm, based in Cambridge, UK. While the company’s innovative approach has yet to produce a molecule that has made it all the way to market (Dacogen came from Astex’s merger with SuperGen in 2011), Otsuka’s leaders clearly have faith in its potential. ‘I would like Otsuka Pharmaceutical to continue to respect Astex’s uniqueness and leverage it to bring further growth for Otsuka,’ company president Taro Iwamoto said in a statement.