Cambridge, MA-based Pandion Therapeutics Inks $795m Deal with Astellas Targeting Pancreas Immunomodulators

Nov 5, 2019 | Autoimmune Disease, Diabetes Type 1, Modular Immune Effector, Pancreas

Cambridge, MA-based Pandion Therapeutics Inks $795m Deal with Astellas Targeting Pancreas Immunomodulators

Cambridge, MA-based Pandion Therapeutics inked a license and collaboration deal worth up to $795 million with Japanese-based Astellas Pharma to research, develop and commercialize locally acting immunomodulators for autoimmune diseases of the pancreas.

Pandion brings its modular biologics and functional immunology expertise to Astellas’ advanced therapeutics development and global commercialization capabilities for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

Payment Terms

Astellas shall pay Pandion $45 million upfront and payments associated with research and preclinical activities. The company can produce more than $750 million in future payments based on development and commercialization milestone payments. Of course, the larger payments are conditioned upon development and commercialization of multiple candidates by Astellas for select and targeted pancreatic autoimmune diseases reports Pharmaceutical Business Review. Additional royalties will be available based on global net sales post commercialization.

An Optimal Match

The collaborative agreement organizes the parties based on their core areas of expertise, capability and competencies: Pandion handles the design and discovery of bispecific drug candidates based on their modular immune effector and tissue tether platform while Astellas will execute preclinical, clinical and commercialization activities for targeted candidates produced by the deal.

Target: Type 1 Diabetes Autoimmune

The parties seek to leverage the Pandion modular immune effector and tissue tether platform which has been designed to address the destruction caused by Type 1 diabetes—where the autoimmune system destroys the patient’s own pancreas.

Pandion Therapeutics Profile

Founded in 2017, the Boston-area start-up biotech has landed $58 million according to CrunchBase. They focus on the development of bispecific antibody therapeutics to achieve localized immunomodulation at the site of the disease for durable, tissue-specific treatment of patients with autoimmune and inflammatory disease and organ transplants. The company’s approach has the potential to more effectively induce and sustain response and remission in patients with many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. They seek to shift the paradigm and design new drugs with transformative efficacy and improved safety.


Their pipeline, presently all assets in preclinical or earlier, involve a wide range of autoimmune and inflammatory indications. Their pipeline is built on an IL-2 mutein fusion protein that preferentially expands T regulatory cells, to the clinic while supporting a robust pipeline of systemic immune modulators and targeted therapeutics focused on the gut, liver, skin kidneys and pancreas. Primary indications in their programs include: Inflammatory bowel disease, Autoimmune liver diseases, Autoimmune skin conditions, Various kidney indications and Type 1 diabetes.


Co-founder Jo Viney is a self-described “Drug Hunter” who worked at Biogen previously. CEO Rahul Kakkar was most recently founder and Chief Medical Officer of Corvida Therapeutics and before that with AstraZeneca.


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