Maxygen Shares Soar on Joint Venture Buyout

Maxygen (NASDAQ:MAXY) shares surged on Thursday amid news that its joint venture interest in Perseid Therapeutics is being acquired by Astellas Pharma for $76 million.

According to their joint venture agreement in 2009, Maxygen transferred its protein pharmaceutical programs and related assets and research and development personnel to Perseid and granted Astellas an option to acquire all interests at a specific exercise price, scheduled to expire on Sept. 18, 2012.

Maxygen CEO James Sulat said Astellas’ decision to exercise the options represents “another important milestone” in the company’s “ongoing efforts to maximize the value of its portfolio and assets.”

In order for the deal to consummate, which is slated for the second-quarter of this year, the companies must enter into a definitive agreement for the acquisition by Astellas for the preferred units of Perseid held by Maxygen. They must also attain regulatory approvals. Maxygen’s shareholders approved the acquisition in 2009 as part of the joint venture agreement.

Upon close, Perseid will become a wholle-owned subsidiary of Astellas.