Japanese company Astellas Pharma has signed an agreement to acquire Belgium-based drug discovery company Ogeda in a deal valued at €800m.

Ogeda develops small molecule drugs targeting G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), and its lead investigational candidate fezolinetant (ESN364) is a selective NK3 receptor antagonist.

Fezolinetant is currently being developed to treat menopause-related vasomotor symptoms (MR-VMS) and acts on specific neurons that control body temperature to directly and safely address the basis for hot flashes (HF) in menopausal women.

The latest transaction is set to expand Astellas’ late-stage pipeline and is expected to contribute to its growth.

Astellas Pharma president and CEO Yoshihiko Hatanaka said: “Ogeda has been pioneering the development of a NK3 receptor antagonist fezolinetant for the treatment of MR-VMS.

“Astellas has a history of discovery and development of the unique medical treatments to improve patients’ quality of life.

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"By leveraging this strength, we aim to deliver this potential new therapeutic option to those patients who are suffering from MR-VMS."

"By leveraging this strength, we aim to deliver this potential new therapeutic option to those patients who are suffering from MR-VMS.”

The company will initially make a payment of €500m in consideration of 100% of equity in Ogeda at the closing of the deal.

Ogeda shareholders will receive an additional €300m after obtaining certain clinical development and regulatory milestones for fezolinetant.

Completion of the transaction is expected to be finalised in the second quarter of this year, upon which Ogeda would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Astellas.

The closing is subject to certain conditions, including the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of the US.

In January this year, Ogeda announced positive data from a Phase IIa study result for the non-hormonal treatment of MRVMS.

It was demonstrated that Fezolinetant reduced the frequency of moderate-to-severe HF at week four by 89% from baseline compared to 38% for placebo and also reduced HF severity at week four by 60% from baseline compared to 12% for placebo.