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Astellas launches digital health investment company

Will look for firms that focus on patient outcomes and offer pharma synergies

Astellas 

Astellas has joined forces with a US-based life sciences venture capital firm to form a new digital health investment company.

Working with San Francisco's MPM Capital the company has launched DigiTx Partners, whose interests will include firms that focus on patient outcomes and offer pharma synergies.

Astellas said its new venture would invest in start-ups and growth-stage companies, but added that its emphasis would be on earlier-stage firms.

Chief strategy officer Kenji Yasukawa said: “Exploring unprecedented medical solutions by leveraging Astellas' strengths in the innovative drug business and integrating these strengths with various medical and healthcare areas is one of the important initiatives of our “Creating Innovation” strategy as part of Astellas Strategic Plan. 

“Through the investment activities of DigiTx Partners, we will explore the business opportunities in the growing field of digital health and extend our knowledge in the area.”

DigiTx Partners will be led by David Kim, who was most recently chief operating officer of the Californian venture-backed predictive analytics company Lumiata.

Prior to that he served as a partner at Pinnacle Ventures, investing both equity and venture debt funds, and worked as an equity research analyst at several financial institutions.

Kim said: “In the digital health space, there is no shortage of innovative technologies and companies that would markedly improve healthcare and the effective delivery of this care to the community. 

“DigiTx Partners aims to identify and foster those companies that will meaningfully contribute to this improvement. From day one, it will be able to leverage the considerable resources of both Astellas and MPM Capital to execute on this goal.”

With digital health of increasing interest to pharma a number of companies have set up 'accelerator' programmes to support emerging companies, with MSD, Bayer and Merck among those following this path.

Examples of a pharma forming a straight investment venture are rarer, though Novartis, for one, is active in this space.

8th August 2016

From: Healthcare

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