TOKYO and DUBLIN, Calif., Sept. 5, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. ("Otsuka") and Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:ASTX) ("Astex"), announced today that their respective Boards of Directors have unanimously approved a transaction under which Otsuka will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Astex for $8.50 per share in cash representing a 48% premium to the average closing stock price for the prior 30 day period. The purchase price represents a fully diluted equity value of approximately $886 million, calculated using the treasury stock method. Otsuka intends to effect the transaction through a tender offer and expects to close the transaction early in the fourth quarter of 2013, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Astex is dedicated to the discovery and development of novel small molecule therapeutics with a particular focus on oncology. Astex has built an important myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) franchise with DACOGEN® (decitabine) for Injection. DACOGEN was also recently approved in Europe for the treatment of (elderly) acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in patients over 65 years of age. Astex's lead clinical development candidates are SGI-110, a novel and potential best-in-class subcutaneous hypomethylating agent which is being evaluated in multiple clinical studies for a variety of hematological and solid tumor oncology indications, including MDS, AML, ovarian cancer and liver cancer, and AT13387, a novel, second generation HSP90 inhibitor being evaluated in clinical studies in the treatment of prostate and lung cancers. Astex also has five partner-funded programs that are being developed by Novartis, AstraZeneca, Janssen and through a clinical development partnership with Cancer Research (UK). The acquisition of Astex adds to Otsuka's existing discovery capabilities and pipeline of therapeutic products for neuroscience, cardiovascular, and oncology indications, and it provides Otsuka with PYRAMID™, the proven, world-class drug discovery platform developed by Astex. Otsuka's approved products in the US include: ABILIFY® (aripiprazole), SAMSCA® (tolvaptan) and IV BUSULFEX® (bulsufan).