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Astellas, NapaJen target oligonucleotides
June 2019
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BURLINGAME, Calif. & TOKYO—A research collaboration is underway between NapaJen Pharma Inc. and Astellas Pharma Inc., under which the companies will work together to discover and develop novel oligonucleotide therapeutics. Per the agreement, NapaJen will be responsible for providing Astellas with a therapeutic complex that combines the novel oligonucleotide with NapaJen’s proprietary schizophyllan delivery vehicle. NapaJen will receive an upfront payment and research funding, with the potential for additional payments if certain research milestones are reached. The company’s drug delivery platform seeks to overcome delivery issues associated with oligonucleotides through the use of schizophyllan, a beta-glucan that specifically binds to the Dectin-1 cell surface receptor. This receptor is expressed on certain immune cells—specifically, macrophages and dendritic cells—and as such, it’s thought that NapaJen’s approach will enable efficient delivery of oligonucleotides to cells associated with regulating immune responses.

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