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Cytokinetics, Inc. (CYTK - Snapshot Report) recently joined forces with Astellas Pharma Inc. (ALPMY) for the research, development and commercialization of skeletal muscle activators.

The companies will focus on identifying new treatments for diseases and medical conditions related to muscle weakness. This collaboration will combine Cytokinetics’ expertise in the discovery and mechanistic biology of small molecule activators of skeletal muscle contractility with Astellas’ capabilities in discovery, development, and commercialization.

Under this deal, Cytokinetics could receive more than $40 million from Astellas in the form of an upfront fee and reimbursement of sponsored R&D activities during the first two years of the collaboration. The company could also receive more than $450 million on the achievement of pre-commercialization and commercialization milestones as well as royalties from Astellas. 

Under this deal, Astellas has exclusive rights todevelop and commercializecollaboration products globally. However, Cytokinetics has an option to co-promote these products in the US and Canada.  For some expenses related to promotional activities, Astellas will reimburse the amount to Cytokinetics.

Additionally, the deal gives Astellas exclusive rights to co-develop and commercialize CK-2127107, a Cytokinetics candidate, for non-neuromuscular indications. As per the deal, Cytokinetics will conduct phase I trials and certain pre-phase II activities for CK-2127107. Astellas will take up subsequent development and commercialization activities. We note that CK-2127107 is currently in a phase I study.

Cytokinetics carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) while Astellas carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). This deal is a major positive for Cytokinetics. It not only provides it with a strong development partner like Astellas, it also provides the company with funds in the form of upfront and milestone payments plus royalties. This deal brings together Cytokinetics’ discovery capabilities and Astellas’ experience and strong presence in the Japanese market.

Currently, companies like Santarus, Inc. and Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ - Analyst Report) look well positioned with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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