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Astellas Announces Retirement of Donald Rice and Appointment of Sef Kurstjens as CEO and President of Agensys, Inc.

TOKYO, Nov. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Astellas Pharma Inc. ("Astellas"; headquarters: Tokyo; President and CEO: Masafumi Nogimori) announced that Donald B. Rice, PhD. will retire from Astellas Pharma Inc.'s affiliate Agensys, Inc. ("Agensys").  Sef Kurstjens, M.D., PhD. has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer and President.

Dr. Rice founded Agensys, Inc. (formerly UroGenesys, Inc.) in 1996.  The company, located in Santa Monica, CA, USA, was acquired by Astellas in December, 2007.  Under his guidance Agensys has become a world-class biotech company developing novel oncology products to help cancer patients. The company continues its work in oncology through the development of a pipeline of therapeutic fully human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to treat solid tumor cancers.

Dr. Kurstjens joins Agensys from Allergan Inc. where he served as Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer and Head, Global Drug Development.  Dr. Kurstjens has a strong track record of proven leadership experience in all aspects of clinical development and is well-positioned to successfully lead the company to the realization of its goal to improve patients' lives through a growing pipeline of clinical stage functional MAbs and antibody-drug conjugated products.  

A native of South Africa, Dr. Kurstjens received his advanced degrees in medicine and experimental physiology from University of the Witwatersrand Medical School in Johannesburg before practicing pediatrics in both South Africa and the United Kingdom. He entered the pharmaceutical industry in 1991 and has held positions of increasing responsibility in Pfizer Global Research and Development in both Europe and the US.  Prior to joining Allergan in 2007, Dr. Kurstjens served as Senior Vice President, Research and Development at Astellas Pharma US, Inc.

About Agensys

Agensys, Inc., an affiliate of Astellas Pharma Inc., is developing a pipeline of therapeutic fully human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to treat solid tumor cancers. The MAb product pipeline is generated by Agensys' diverse portfolio of proprietary, clinically relevant cancer targets that encompass 14 types of solid tumors. Agensys' target portfolio and related products are protected by a large patent estate. The company has full capabilities to generate, develop and manufacture antibody products. Agensys is progressing a pipeline of both naked and antibody-drug conjugated (ADC) therapeutic antibodies, directed at a variety of cancer indications, including those of the prostate, kidney, pancreas, ovary, bladder, lung, colon, breast and skin. ADC products are based on drug platform technologies developed by Seattle Genetics. Agensys is developing a growing pipeline of clinical stage functional MAbs and ADC products.

SOURCE Astellas Pharma Inc.
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