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> Oryzon Genomics posted preliminary data from a phase 1 trial of its neurodegenerative disease candidate, ORY-2001. The drug came through the early test of its safety, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. With the study never reaching a maximum tolerated dose, Oryzon has added a new cohort. Oryzon sees the data setting it up for planned phase 2 trials in Alzheimer’s and other indications. Release (PDF)

> Galapagos and Gilead kicked off another clutch of trials of filgotinib. The phase 2 studies will assess the effect of the JAK1 inhibitor in patients with Sjögren's syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis. Each trial will enroll more than 100 patients and treat them for between 12 and 16 weeks. Statement

> Crescendo Biologics named Philip Bland-Ward as its CSO. Bland-Ward joins the British biotech from Kymab, where he worked for three years as VP on nonclinical development. Earlier in his career, Bland-Ward spent stints at GlaxoWellcome and pioneering British biotech Cambridge Antibody Technology. Release (PDF)

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> AstraZeneca paid a $12 million (€11 million) milestone to Heptares Therapeutics. The milestone was triggered by the completion of preclinical work on AZD4635, a small molecule adenosine A2A receptor antagonist AstraZeneca wants to combine with its anti-PD-1L antibody. AstraZeneca is running a phase 1 trial of the asset as a monotherapy and in combination with durvalumab. Statement

> Sanofi made a milestone payment to Evotec. The €3 million ($3.2 million) payment is the first of up to €300 million in milestones Evotec is in line to receive under the diabetes pact it struck with Sanofi in 2015. Evotec triggered the milestone by achieving preclinical proof of concept. Release

> SkinBioTherapeutics began trading on London’s AIM following its IPO. The microbiome skin health startup raised £4.5 million ($5.6 million) to build on early work testing its technology in human skin models. SkinBioTherapeutics plans to partner with established companies to develop treatments for eczema and other dermatological conditions. Statement (PDF)

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