Generian Achieves First Milestones in Mitobridge Collaboration

Pittsburgh, PA and Cambridge, MA, February 8, 2023 – Generian Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a preclinical biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing first-in-class orally bioavailable small molecule therapeutics, announced today that it has achieved the first research milestones for two programs in development under its collaboration agreement with Mitobridge, Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Astellas Pharma Inc.).

The two programs that Generian is advancing are focused on the stabilization or degradation of two unrelated transcription factors. The milestone payments were generated based on the successful identification of hit compounds that impact the stability and activity of these two transcription factors. The small molecule hit series were identified through the use of a proprietary drug discovery platform and validated as target protein stabilizers or degraders in biologically relevant functional assays.

“We are extremely pleased with the rapid and remarkable progress made with our partners at Astellas on these two programs,” said Hank Safferstein, PhD, JD, Chief Executive Officer of Generian. “These hit series represent first-in-class compounds that directly bind to transcription factors for degradation or stabilization. We look forward to continuing our productive collaboration and leveraging our combined expertise and knowledge to develop and advance small molecule therapeutics for difficult to drug targets.”

“As a company focused on developing innovative treatments for patients around the world, we are extremely pleased that Generian achieved their first program milestones,” said David Barrett, Ph.D., Division Head and President of Mitobridge. “We continue to be very excited about, and value, our ongoing collaboration with them.”

In June 2022, Generian and Astellas entered into a collaboration and exclusive license agreement to identify novel small molecules that modulate target proteins through activation, stabilization or degradation as potential development candidates. Generian is eligible to receive additional milestone payments of approximately $180 million in addition to royalties on any global net sales.

About Generian

Generian Pharmaceuticals, which was formed by UPMC Enterprises, the innovation, commercialization and venture capital arm of UPMC, is a preclinical biotechnology company focused on developing novel small molecules to therapeutically modulate target proteins through activation, stabilization, or degradation. By utilizing a proprietary platform, the company is advancing a pipeline of first-in-class drugs for clinically meaningful, difficult-to-drug targets. Learn more at or follow us on LinkedIn.

About Mitobridge

Mitobridge Inc. was founded in 2013 with financing from MPM Capital, Longwood Fund, and Astellas Pharma’s Venture Management team, all sharing a vision for the promise of mitochondrial-targeted therapeutics. In January of 2018, Mitobridge was acquired by Astellas Pharma and is now Mitobridge, an Astellas Company. At Astellas, mitochondrial biology is one of our Primary Focuses, and this biology platform drives our commitment to bring new biological concepts into the clinic for rapid proof of concept.

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 Generian and/or 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 Generian or Astellas to market existing and new products effectively, (v) the inability of Generian or Astellas to continue to effectively research and develop products accepted by customers in highly competitive markets, and (vi) infringements of relevant 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.

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