Sector News

Astellas is still struggling to close its $379M Ocata buyout

January 25, 2016
Life sciences

When Astellas signed a deal to acquire Ocata Therapeutics in November, it expected the company’s shareholders to accept its $8.50-a-share offer within 20 days. But a group of jilted Ocata investors has refused to budge, agitating for a better return and forcing the Japanese drugmaker to prolong the process.

Astellas has again extended the tender offer period, setting a new deadline of Feb. 9 for Ocata shareholders to take the buyout. The company had first expected to close the deal in December, later pushing the cutoff to Thursday, which passed without closure.

The $379 million offer presented a 79% premium to Ocata share value when it was announced, and management heralded it as an ideal end for a company with a long, up-and-down history in drug development. But a dedicated group of shareholders contends the offer undervalues Ocata, and they have reached out to potential white knights, elected officials and federal regulators in hopes of fetching a higher price.

The problem, Ocata shareholders say, is that Astellas’ bid focuses solely on Ocata’s stem cell assets in ophthalmology without accounting for the company’s preclinical projects in autoimmune and other diseases.

For its part, Astellas remains “excited about the combination of Astellas and Ocata and (is) fully committed to achieving a successful completion of the transaction,” CEO Yoshihiko Hatanaka said in a statement. “… We believe that Astellas’ offer represents an attractive proposal to Ocata’s shareholders, and we look forward to closing the tender offer at the end of this offering period.”

Ocata, formerly Advanced Cell Technology, is among the pioneers of therapeutic stem cell development, enduring the field’s peaks and valleys since its foundation in 1994. The company has flirted with penny-stock territory and endured multiple reorganizations ever since. Taking the name Ocata in 2014, the biotech has since narrowed its focus to treatments for disorders of the eye, advancing clinical programs in Stargardt’s disease and macular degeneration.

By Damian Garde

Source: Fierce Biotech

comments closed

Related News

May 15, 2022

Novo Nordisk and Flagship Pioneering announce a strategic collaboration to create a portfolio of transformational medicines

Life sciences

The companies will explore opportunities to apply Flagship’s innovative bioplatforms – an ecosystem that currently comprises 41 companies – to scientific challenges in disease areas within cardiometabolic and rare diseases and initiate research programmes based on these.

May 15, 2022

BD, Babson set sights on bringing simple blood collection into the home

Life sciences

BD is expanding its long-running partnership with the blood collection company Babson Diagnostics. The two companies have been working together since 2019 on a device that can gather small volumes of blood from the capillaries in the fingertip without requiring any specialized training, and beginning with a focus on supporting primary care in retail settings.

May 15, 2022

CSL’s $11.7B Vifor buy, 2021’s biggest biopharma M&A deal, hits antitrust delay

Life sciences

Wednesday, Australian biotech CSL said (PDF) the regulatory review of its $11.7 billion acquisition of Switzerland’s Vifor Pharma will take “a few more months,” suggesting it won’t be able to close the transaction by June 2022 as previously expected.