CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — In February 2016, Japanese drug maker Astellas Pharma paid $379 million for a small Marlborough, Mass., biotech that developed promising stem-cell therapies, together with a possible one-time therapy for a number one explanation for blindness.
The acquisition overcame stiff opposition from shareholders within the biotech, Ocata Therapeutics. A few of them believed Tokyo-based Astellas had undervalued Ocata. Others complained that know-how pioneered by Robert Lanza, Ocata’s world-renowned chief scientific officer, would go to a international firm.
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