Audentes Therapeutics Expands Mission, Becomes Astellas Gene Therapies

April 1, 2021

  • New Center of Excellence created within Astellas expanding access to global resources
    and adding additional gene therapy research programs over time to develop and commercialize potentially life-changing medicines
  • All current Audentes employees to integrate across numerous functions into Astellas

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – March 31, 2021 – Audentes Therapeutics, an Astellas Company, today announced that it is expanding its mission to develop potentially life-changing genetic medicines by becoming Astellas Gene Therapies. The new global Gene Therapy Center of Excellence, to be called Astellas Gene Therapies, will further advance Astellas’ Primary Focus of Genetic Regulation, through closer integration, expanded operations, and greater access to resources within Astellas.

“The field of gene therapy has made significant strides to date, and we believe the future holds even greater opportunity to bring new treatments to a wide range of diseases for patients in need,” said Kenji Yasukawa, President and CEO, Astellas. “With Astellas Gene Therapies as a Center of Excellence, we can continue to deepen our knowledge in this ever-evolving space with the expertise and talent from within Audentes to lead us to the forefront of creating next-generation treatments.”

Effective April 1, Astellas Gene Therapies will be operated through three divisions specializing in gene therapy research and technical operations, medical and development, and future commercialization of AAV-based gene therapies including X-linked Myotubular Myopathy (XLMTM), Pompe disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Myotonic dystrophy. Astellas Gene Therapies will also be responsible for advancing additional existing Astellas gene therapy programs toward clinical investigation.

The new Astellas Gene Therapies divisions will be headed by industry veterans who are acknowledged for their experience and expertise in the development of new genetic medicines. The new divisions will be led by:

  • Edward Conner, M.D., Astellas Gene Therapies Site Lead and Division Head of Gene Therapy Medical & Development
  • Amy Pott, Division Head of Gene Therapy Commercial
  • Mathew Pletcher, Ph.D., Division Head of Gene Therapy Research & Technical Operations

“As we come together now as Astellas Gene Therapies, we are excited about the potential to leverage new resources that will further accelerate our pipeline while expanding our research and offerings to address the needs of larger patient populations on a global scale,” said Dr. Ed Conner, Astellas Gene Therapies Site Lead and Division Head of Gene Therapy Medical & Development. “Together, we have the opportunity to make an even more valuable impact on patients’ lives.”

Astellas Gene Therapies will integrate approximately 350 current employees from Audentes including all corporate functions, which will continue to provide support to the Gene Therapy Center of Excellence. Included in the integration is Audentes’ full-scale manufacturing facilities in South San Francisco, California, and a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility currently under construction in Sanford, North Carolina.

About Astellas Gene Therapies

Astellas Gene Therapies is an Astellas Center of Excellence developing genetic medicines with the potential to deliver transformative value for patients. Based on an innovative scientific approach and industry leading internal manufacturing capability and expertise, we are currently exploring three gene therapy modalities: gene replacement, exon skipping gene therapy, and vectorized RNA knockdown and will also advance additional Astellas gene therapy programs toward clinical investigation. We are based in San Francisco, with manufacturing and laboratory facilities in South San Francisco and Sanford, North Carolina. 

About Astellas

Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients. For more information, please visit our website at

Cautionary Notes

In this press release, statements made with respect to current plans, estimates, strategies and beliefs and other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements about the future performance of Astellas. These statements are based on management’s current assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in general economic conditions and in laws and regulations, relating to pharmaceutical markets, (ii) currency exchange rate fluctuations, (iii) delays in new product launches, (iv) the inability of Astellas to market existing and new products effectively, (v) the inability of Astellas to continue to effectively research and develop products accepted by customers in highly competitive markets, and (vi) infringements of Astellas’ intellectual property rights by third parties.

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