EuroBiotech Report—Cell Medica gets £60M, Astex-Novartis, Galapagos-Pharnext, Heptares-Daiichi and MetrioPharm

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with a £60 million ($74 million) Series C for Cell Medica. The cancer cellular immunotherapy player once again turned to three British biotech investment heavyweights for funding. And having done so, it is set to expand its pipeline by pushing new programs into the clinic. Sticking in the United Kingdom, Astex Pharmaceuticals trumpeted the role it played in NovartisKisqali on its route to approval. And Heptares Therapeutics added Daiichi Sankyo to its growing list of big-name collaborators. On mainland Europe, Galapagos teamed up with Pharnext to develop drug combinations. MetrioPharm committed to advancing its psoriasis drug after a phase 2 readout. And more.—Nick Taylor

1. Cell Medica raises £60M to push cancer therapies into clinic

Cell Medica has raised £60 million ($74 million) to expand its clinical pipeline of cancer cellular immunotherapies. The latest fundraising round, which was again backed by heavyweights of the British biotech investment scene, will equip Cell Medica to move new assets into the clinic while wrapping up a phase 2 of its lead candidate.

2. Astex bags milestone after Novartis cancer drug approved

Astex Pharmaceuticals has pocketed a milestone payment from Novartis after the cancer drug the companies worked on together a decade ago secured FDA approval. The milestone was triggered when FDA signed off on the use of Kisqali as a first-line treatment for HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced breast cancer.

3. Galapagos, Pharnext join forces to develop drug combos

Galapagos and Pharnext have teamed up to develop drug combinations. The European biotechs plan to use Pharnext’s platform for identifying effective low-dose combinations of approved drugs to boost the efficacy of Galapagos’ pipeline prospects.

4. Heptares adds Daiichi pain pact to string of R&D deals

Heptares Therapeutics has struck a pain drug R&D pact with Daiichi Sankyo. The agreement will see Heptares apply the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) and structure-based drug design skills that have landed it deals with Allergan, AstraZeneca and Pfizer to the discovery of small molecules that hit a pain target.

5. MetrioPharm advances psoriasis drug after phase 2 readout

MetrioPharm is set to advance its psoriasis asset into phase 2b after bringing the drug through an early test of its safety and potential efficacy. Top-line data from the phase 2a suggest MP1032 is safe and hint at its potential to lessen the severity of psoriasis symptoms.

And more articles of note>>