Astellas and YASKAWA Partner to Forge a Cutting-Edge Cell Therapy Ecosystem Blending Pharmaceutical and Robotics Expertise

Today, Astellas announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with YASKAWA Electric Corporation (YASKAWA), marking the beginning of discussions toward creating an innovative cell therapy ecosystem. This collaboration aims to merge pharmaceutical and robotics technologies, potentially revolutionizing cell therapy processes. The memorandum, while non-binding, sets the stage for deeper discussions and possible future collaborations.

The production complexity of cell therapy presents a significant hurdle to its commercialization. Astellas recognizes the immense investment required for developing manufacturing processes and facilities, making it challenging for startups and academia to independently enter the market. Since late 2017, Astellas has been exploring cell therapy manufacturing technologies, including the use of YASKAWA’s humanoid robot “Maholo,” developed by its subsidiary, the Robotic Biology Institute.

Under the memorandum’s terms, the companies will explore the development of a platform bridging early-stage research to commercialization. This platform could leverage the advanced capabilities of the Maholo robot to streamline product manufacturing and shorten the R&D timeline for cell therapy.

Moreover, there’s potential for extending the platform’s use to startups and academia, fostering an inclusive ecosystem for cell therapy innovation. This collaboration aligns with Astellas’ commitment to advancing healthcare and delivering value to patients through innovative science.

Astellas brings expertise in cell manufacturing technology, clinical development, and regulatory insights, while YASKAWA contributes state-of-the-art robotics and factory automation technologies.

While the financial impact of this memorandum on Astellas’ fiscal year ending March 31, 2025, is expected to be minimal, the potential implications for advancing cell therapy are substantial.

Concurrently, YASKAWA announced “Yaskawa Partners with Astellas Pharma on Building a Cell Therapy Platform Combining Robotics and Pharmaceutical Technologies.”

Astellas Pharma Inc. operates globally, focusing on the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs. Through its Focus Area Approach and Rx+® healthcare solutions, Astellas aims to pioneer healthcare change and transform innovative science into tangible benefits for patients.

This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding Astellas’ future performance. Actual results may differ due to various factors, including economic conditions, regulatory changes, and competition. Additionally, information about pharmaceutical products is provided for informational purposes and not as medical advice or advertising.

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