Quetera, a UK-based gene therapy company focused on developing novel treatments for ocular disorders including glaucoma, has been acquired by Japanese pharma company Astellas. Under the terms of the agreement, Astellas may pay up to £85 million in upfront and contingent payments, while Quethera becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Astellas.

Quethera’s ophthalmic gene therapy program uses a recombinant adeno-associated viral vector system (rAAV) to introduce therapeutic genes into target retinal cells for the treatment of glaucoma. The lead pre-clinical candidate of the program has demonstrated significantly improved survival of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in pre-clinical models.

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