News

Karolinska Development's CEO leaves, Erytech hits PhIII endpoints, VBL belatedly nails IPO

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report.

Atlas Venture plans a biotech-only future via VC mitosis

For the past 35 years, Atlas Venture has operated as a diversified investor, splitting its efforts between technology and life sciences. Starting next year, the two sides will part.

Calithera ekes out an $80M IPO as Dermira, Forward hope for a turnaround

Cancer biotech Calithera Biosciences pulled off an $80 million Wall Street debut, pricing well below its range as more and more drug developers line up in hopes of making it out of a tightening IPO window.

Intarcia's annual diabetes treatment aces two Phase III trials

Well-funded biotech Intarcia Therapeutics is rolling along with its ambitious plans to develop a diabetes treatment without Big Pharma's help, posting positive results from two late-stage studies on its once-a-year drug-device combo.

UPDATED: Eli Lilly scraps tabalumab for lupus after it flops in (another) PhIII program

Eli Lilly's tabalumab has flopped in another Phase III program, failing to score well enough to survive as a potential new treatment for lupus--a follow-up setback to its earlier failure in rheumatoid arthritis. Lilly now plans to bury the program in its crowded graveyard of late-stage drugs.

Feds rally behind Mapp as Ebola spreads, but production remains a challenge

A novel treatment made by tiny Mapp Biopharmaceutical may be the key to beating back West Africa's Ebola outbreak, but despite the support of the U.S. government and some of the world's largest charities, producing enough to counter the spread will be difficult.

Little Esperion eyes big rivals as its cholesterol drug clears mid-stage hurdle

Esperion Therapeutics has taken another big stride along the clinical path for its cholesterol drug. The biotech reports that its drug ETC-1002 slashed levels of the bad cholesterol LDL, particularly when it was combined with Merck's Zetia, in a Phase IIb trial. And now that the mid-stage program is complete, the Ann Arbor, MI-based biotech finds itself at the threshold of a late-stage program with a drug the company feels can thread the market needle between cheap generics and a looming wave of rival biologics.

Merck-led syndicate bets $30M on Visterra's infectious-disease pipeline

Backed by the insights of a high-profile MIT scientist with a lead antibody now poised to make an assault on a Phase II proof-of-concept study, Visterra has rounded up a $30 million venture round for its next-gen work on infectious diseases from a marquee group of investors and now plans to beef up the pipeline.

Allergan blueprints a big Texas expansion amid battle with spendthrift Valeant

Allergan has signed a lease for big chunk of office space in Texas, according to the Austin Business Journal, keeping quiet on its plans as it slashes jobs around the globe.

Biotech backer LSP banks $100M to fund a new generation of startups

European venture outfit LSP (Life Sciences Partners) has raised $100 million toward a new biotech fund, setting out to stake a dozen or so innovators in drugs, devices and diagnostics.

Sanofi sets up a major R&D hub in booming Shanghai

French pharma giant Sanofi has unveiled plans to bring together the drug development work being done in a dozen different Pacific Rim countries, creating a major new R&D center in Shanghai that will employ 1,400 staffers.

Portola's 'breakthrough' anti-anticoagulant clears a Phase III hurdle

Portola Pharmaceuticals' antidote to Big Pharma's latest crop of blockbuster blood thinners hit the mark in its first Phase III trial, clearing the way for an FDA submission next year.

FibroGen lines up a $125M IPO to shoulder its way into the IPF race

Flush with cash from its high-profile collaborators, FibroGen is plotting a $120 million IPO to help bankroll a stable of unpartnered drugs, including a promising lung treatment with huge market potential.

Flagging Novartis drops out of hep C race, punting a $440M Enanta pact

According to the biotech Enanta, you can count Novartis out of the race to develop next-gen hepatitis C cocktails. The pharma giant has bowed out of its partnership with Enanta on an NS5A inhibitor code-named EDP-239, which attracted a $440 million deal--including $36 million upfront--back in 2012.

AstraZeneca partner Ardelyx scores a trial success for GI drug

Fresh off an IPO, Ardelyx reports that its lead drug tenapanor (RDX5791) scored a success in a large Phase IIb trial for irritable bowel syndrome. And that counts as a win for AstraZeneca, which signed a $272 million partnership deal on the drug back in 2012--part of a deal frenzy aimed at repairing a damaged pipeline.

GlaxoSmithKline deepens its commitment to 'electroceuticals'

GlaxoSmithKline is expanding its efforts to encourage research into bioelectronic medicine, putting up $5 million to support R&D projects around the world.

J&J makes a splash in hep C with a $1.75B deal for Alios

Johnson & Johnson is taking a deep dive into antivirals, trading $1.75 billion for private biotech Alios BioPharma to get its hands on a midstage treatment and some early assets that could expand its share of the blockbuster hepatitis C market.

Regeneron's would-be blockbuster completes the allergic circle with Phase II success

Regeneron and partner Sanofi have notched another midstage milestone with their in-development allergy drug, a victory that affirms the hypothesis behind a treatment the companies believe could bring in billions.

Takeda steps up with $1.6B package of milestones in MacroGenics R&D pact

Four months after it signed an option pact that included $33 million in an upfront and early milestone, along with $468 million in add-on incentives, Takeda has agreed to pay the freight on researching up to four more MacroGenics programs while adding up to $400 million each--$1.6 billion in total--in fresh milestones.

UPDATED: Baxter inks a big lease in the heart of Cambridge for biopharma R&D headquarters

Chicago-based Baxter International has inked a 200,000-square-foot lease in the heart of Cambridge, MA's biotech hub which will become the new research center of its soon-to-be-spun-out biopharma division, Baxalta.