September 29, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Ocata bought by Astellas of Japan: initial perspectives on end of an era

AstellasBombshell news in the stem cell field as Ocata Therapeutics (OCAT; formerly Advanced Cell Technology or ACT) is reportedly to be acquired by Astellas Pharma, Inc.

The offer for purchase of OCAT will be $8.50/share or almost $380 million. For more details see this detailed PDF from Astellas.

This quote on the deal form Ocata:

“Paul Wotton, Ph.D., President and CEO, Ocata said, “I am impressed by the vision and commitment of Astellas and believe that with their global resources behind our regenerative platform, patients suffering from debilitating diseases like AMD and SMD will soon benefit from having access to regenerative medicine.”

What will this mean for the scientists at Ocata?

What role might Dr. Robert Lanza, CSO of Ocata, play after the deal? (here’s a brief 2017 update from Lanza.)

Ocata was founded 21 years ago as ACT and despite the recent name change to Ocata, it has largely been the same company. With the purchase by Astellas, that era is over and so begins a new one.

My initial reaction is that this isn’t reflective of the full value of Ocata. It’s disappointing and creates uncertainty about the future of Ocata’s pipeline.

At the same time I’ve had this feeling for quite some time that Ocata would be acquired in coming years at some point. That time is now and a bit sooner than I had thought.

Over at Investor Stem Cell, which heavily covers Ocata, the reaction has been negative to the deal.

Note: I have a very small, long-term position in OCAT.

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