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Astellas and MBC BioLabs Announce Golden Ticket Competition to Help Biotech Start-ups Accelerate Early Drug Discovery and Research Efforts
Sponsorship provides a year of access to MBC BioLabs' life-science incubators and in-house Astellas expertise for scientific innovators

TOKYO and SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Astellas Venture Management (President: Kazunori Maruyama, Ph.D, "AVM"), a wholly-owned venture capital subsidiary of Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., "Astellas") and Mission Bay Capital BioLabs ("MBC BioLabs"), a life-science incubator, today announced their second collaboration on the "Golden Ticket Competition". Building on the success of the inaugural competition held in 2019, the Golden Ticket Competition offers entrepreneurial scientists or emerging biotechnology start-ups one year's priority usage of MBC BioLabs' state-of-the-art lab facility and access to Astellas' research and development (R&D) capabilities and business leaders.

With a shared commitment to discovering and advancing innovative science for the potential future benefit of patients worldwide, AVM and MBC BioLabs are continuing their partnership to support scientists and early-stage companies to accelerate their novel therapeutic programs, modalities or platforms. For 2020, AVM is interested in all areas of discovery and new innovations for unmet medical needs, in particular the ones that have potential synergy with Astellas' Focus Area Approach.

"External innovation is vital in helping us achieve and realize our VISION of turning innovative science into VALUE for patients," said Maruyama, President, AVM. "The combination of Astellas' R&D expertise with MBC BioLabs' leading incubator capabilities creates a unique opportunity for start-ups to transform exciting ideas into real businesses that could bring value and hope to patients around the world."

"We are delighted to be partnering with Astellas for a second time," said Douglas Crawford, MBC BioLabs General Manager. "The outstanding work of the previous winners of the Astellas and MBC BioLabs Golden Tickets, AmbAgon Therapeutics and Gordian Biotechnology, is testament to what can be achieved by combining our laboratory accelerator and Astellas' enduring support, advice and expertise."

Entrepreneurial scientists, emerging life-science and biotechnology start-ups have until October 27, 2020 to enter the Golden Ticket Competition.

About the Golden Ticket Competition
Astellas is offering up to two Golden Tickets for pioneering scientists with innovative research that complements Astellas' interest in all areas of innovation and in particular Astellas Focus Area Approach.  

Companies awarded an Astellas Golden Ticket will gain one year's priority admission or renewal to MBC BioLabs' state-of-the-art laboratory and access to Astellas' R&D scientists and business leaders. The competition is open from September 29 to October 27, 2020. Entrepreneurial scientists, emerging life-science or biotechnology start-ups should submit their non-confidential company presentation, including a one-page executive summary, to to be considered. The decision to award any Golden Ticket and the assessments underlying such decision, are solely within the judgment of Astellas and MBC BioLabs and are not subject to any objection or appeal.

The 2019 Astellas Golden Ticket winners were AmbAgon Therapeutics and Gordian Biotechnology, chosen for the strength of the innovation in their approach, the therapeutic potential of their research and alignment of their novel technological platforms with Astellas' R&D Focus Areas.

For further information, please go to:, where you can also find submission guidance for your non-confidential company presentation and executive summary.

About Astellas Venture Management
AVM is the wholly-owned venture capital organization within Astellas, dedicated to supporting pre-clinical, cutting-edge science that can bring VALUE to patients. For over 20 years, AVM has provided equity investments to private, early-stage companies developing therapeutic programs and platform technologies, helping them to advance their innovations faster. AVM is a strategic investor, making investments in science that will enhance the current Astellas R&D pipeline or that could catalyze new directions in discovery research.

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 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

About MBC BioLabs
MBC BioLabs is dedicated to helping life-science startups succeed. By renting space as small as a single bench and providing these entrepreneurial scientists with access to millions of dollars of equipment, we allow companies to be fast, focused, and frugal. We now have two sites: one in the Dogpatch neighborhood in San Francisco and a new campus in San Carlos. Each site has a complete molecular biology core facility that allows companies to do experiments on day one, not year one. We have partnerships with leading pharmaceutical and life-science companies as well as a built-in venture capital firm, Mission Bay Capital. These partnerships provide our entrepreneurs with valuable insights about where to focus their efforts and accelerates the innovation pipeline. Our labs have truly enabled awesome: since our opening in 2013 we have helped launch and grow 173 companies. These companies have brought 53 programs to the clinic, produced 13 approved diagnostics, and raised over $4.5 billion!

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. Information about pharmaceutical products (including products currently in development) which is included in this press release is not intended to constitute an advertisement or medical advice.


SOURCE Astellas Pharma Inc.

For further information: Astellas Pharma Inc., Media Contact, Valerie Moens, Medical & Development Strategic Planning and Communications, TEL: +1 312-772-0050, EMAIL:; MBC BioLabs, Media Contacts, Flavia Nachbar, Public & Alliance Relations Manager, MBC BioLabs, TEL: +1 415-347-8287, EMAIL:; Linda Eng, Director of Operations, MBC BioLabs, TEL: +1 415-347-8287, EMAIL:
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