Astellas Pharma has announced that it is acquiring private Belgian drug discovery company Ogeda (formerly known as Euroscreen), in a deal reportedly worth up to $850m.
The deal will give Astellas access to Ogeda's lead candidate, non-hormonal drug fezolinetant, which has been shown to reduce the menopause-related symptoms of hot flushes and night sweats in phase II trials.
Astellas will pay around $533 million for the company upfront and could also pay Ogeda shareholders another $320 million if the drug reaches certain clinical development and regulatory milestones.
Fezolinetant could become the first non-hormonal medicine for those menopausal symptoms, potentially becoming an alternative to hormone replacement therapies which have side effects including an increased risk of breast cancer.
Yoshihiko Hatanaka, Astellas' president and CEO, said: "The transaction fits with our strategy to deliver innovative drugs in therapeutic areas with high unmet medical needs."
Pending regulatory approval, the deal is expected to be finalised in the second quarter of 2017.
This latest acquisition news follows Astellas' buyout of German biopharmaceutical company Ganymed Pharmaceuticals, a deal thought be worth $1.4 billion, which closed in December 2016.