Astellas and Pantherna to work together on mRNA-based medicine through direct reprogramming

mRNA, biotech

Astellas Pharma Inc. and Pantherna Therapeutics GmbH have entered into a new technology evaluation agreement for research to generate mRNA-based regenerative medicine programs using direct reprogramming (transdifferentiation).

Direct reprogramming is the direct conversion of the fate of cells without passing through the pluripotent state.

This agreement expands the scope of the technology evaluation agreement for research, which Astellas and Pantherna entered into in 2021, to include new targets.

Pantherna owns a proprietary platform of mRNA molecules (PTXmRNAs) for enhancing the efficiency of mRNA actions in the body. Under the new agreement, Pantherna’s mRNA platform and Astellas’ drug discovery capabilities will be combined to promote research on the generation of regenerative medicine programs for new target organs using the direct reprogramming approach. 

Astellas and Pantherna responsibilities

Astellas will be responsible for providing drug discovery ideas, preparing candidate compounds for technology evaluation, and performing research aimed at developing this therapeutic modality, while Pantherna will be responsible for providing technical information and development support.

“We are excited about this expansion of our collaboration with Astellas,” said Pantherna’s chief executive officer, Klaus Giese. 

“We feel honored that Astellas, as a leading pharmaceutical company, has underscored their interest in leveraging the unique aspects of our proprietary therapeutic mRNA technology.”

More treatment options

“Through this agreement, which expands the scope of our collaboration with Pantherna, we will create innovative regenerative medicine programs for new target organs, and we expect that we will be able to thereby expand the treatment options for diseases with high unmet medical needs.” said Taiji Sawamoto, executive vice president, applied research & operations, at Astellas. 

“The collaboration with Pantherna is an initiative which synergistically integrates Astellas’ expertise with mRNA as a therapeutic modality and its capabilities cultivated in the research field of direct reprogramming, and will promote the development of next-generation treatments using a new modality/technology based on the focus area approach strategy.”

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