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Kyorin's $175M Partnership Offers Good Life for aTyr Pharma in Japan

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aTyr Pharma's shares traded 45% higher today after the firm reported that it had entered into a collaboration agreement with Kyorin Pharmaceutical for development and commercialization of its ATYR1923 drug in Japan.

This morning, biotherapeutics company aTyr Pharma Inc. (LIFE:NASDAQ), which is focused on development of innovative medicines based on novel immunological pathways, announced that "it has entered into a collaboration and license agreement with Kyorin Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Kyorin Holdings Inc. (4569:JP), for the development and commercialization of aTyr's lead clinical candidate, ATYR1923, for interstitial lung diseases (ILDs) in Japan."

The firm stated that the partnering agreement has a potential value exceeding $175 million if certain milestones are achieved. Under the terms of the agreement, aTyr will receive $8 million upfront, and is eligible to receive up to an additional $167 million subject to completion of outlined developments including regulatory and sales goals along with tiered royalties from net sales in Japan. Per the agreement, Kyorin will receive the exclusive right to develop and commercialize ATYR1923 in Japan for ILDs and will be responsible for funding all research, development, regulatory, marketing and commercialization activities in Japan.

Dr. Sanjay Shukla, president and CEO of aTyr, commented, "We are very pleased to enter into this collaboration with Kyorin, a leading respiratory focused pharmaceutical company in Japan, to advance ATYR1923 in an important market...As in the U.S., ILDs represent an area of significant unmet medical need in Japan, and Kyorin's development and commercial capabilities will enhance our ability to improve the lives of patients with these serious conditions. We believe this collaboration further validates ATYR1923 and potentially accelerates development in other ILDs."

Kyorin Holdings' President and CEO Yutaka Ogihara added, "We are excited to enter into this agreement with aTyr and bring this new, potentially first-in-class drug to Japanese ILD patients."

The company indicated that it is developing ATYR1923 as a potential therapeutic for patients with interstitial lung diseases. The firm also advised that it is currently enrolling a proof-of-concept Phase 1b/2a trial evaluating ATYR1923 in patients with pulmonary sarcoidosis.

aTyr Pharma is headquartered in San Diego, Calif., and states that it is a "biotherapeutics company engaged in the discovery and development of innovative medicines based on novel immunological pathways, and that its research and development efforts are concentrated on a newly discovered area of biology, the extracellular functionality and signaling pathways of tRNA synthetases."

Based in Tokyo, Japan, Kyorin Holdings is a holding company that manages the Kyorin Group including Kyorin Pharmaceutical. Kyorin Pharma states that it uses a franchise customer strategy where its marketing efforts are focused on respiratory, otolaryngology and urology. The group manufactures and distributes prescription medicines and diagnostic drugs and in addition also manufactures and markets medical tools and equipment.

aTyr Pharma started off the day with a market capitalization of about $16.6 million with approximately 3.89 million shares outstanding. LIFE shares opened 70% higher today at $7.25 (+$2.99, +70.19%) over Friday's $4.26 closing price. The stock has traded today between $5.97 and $7.62 per share on very high relative volume and is presently trading at $6.25 (+$1.99, +46.71%).


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