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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Japanese pharma company to acquire Pittsboro firm for $175M

Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma Inc. announced Wednesday plans to acquire Pittsboro-based biopharmaceutical firm Propella Therapeutics for $175 million.

As part of the deal, the company will also acquire a biosynthesis inhibitor Propella is developing to help treat prostate cancer. 

Propella is a privately held development-stage company with five employees formed in 2020. The inhibitor, PRL-02, is Propella’s lead product candidate. 

Astellas is valued at billions of dollars. The recent deal between the two companies comes as Astellas has invested in multiple facilities in nearby Sanford, North Carolina, San Francisco and Cambridge, Massachusetts, among other places. 

Astellas’ clinical and commercial manufacturing facility in Sanford opened last year. Gov. Roy Cooper stated at the time that North Carolina is a premier location for the company.

“Our state’s skilled workforce, leading academic institutions and healthy business environment provide all the resources they need to foster innovation and continued success,” he said. 

North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park has become a sprawling hub for the biopharmaceutical and biotechnology industries over the past two decades thanks to talent pools from nearby universities like UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke and lower costs of living, according to a 2022 CBRE analysis

North Carolina has also recently been a hotbed for foreign investment, per an annual ranking compiled by the Financial Times and Nikkei

Japanese companies including Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Aircraft, among others, poured more than $6.6 billion into the state since 2018, according to the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. Last month, Gov. Cooper and other state officials met with Japanese business and political leaders to discuss the state’s partnership with the Asian nation and its businesses.  

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