Welcome to the last EuroBiotech Report of 2017. Our running order this week, by accident rather than design, is free from the sorts of downbeat stories we frequently brought you in 2017. In this edition, it is all about the unbridled potential of new scientific pastures, not the merciless reality of their unsuccessful exploration. Nowhere is that more true than in our top story, which covers Orchard Therapeutics’ $110 million series B. In a big week for gene therapies, the investment marks the emergence of another big player on the scene. Galapagos is already a big dog. It wants to get bigger and as such has taken up its co-promotion option on filgotinib. But it has also disclosed that Gilead will be free to buy it outright next year, raising doubts about whether it can pull-off its standalone strategy. Boehringer Ingelheim put together a €625 million deal for Autifony Therapeutics’ schizophrenia drug and associated platform. Roche tapped Confo Therapeutics for drug discovery support. Celgene entered into a mRNA translation R&D pact with Cancer Research Technology. And more.—Nick Taylor
Orchard Therapeutics has positioned itself to join the commercial-stage gene therapy club with a $110 million series B round. The investment gives Orchard the financial firepower to take its gene therapy against adenosine deaminase severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID) through the final stage of clinical development and onto the market.
Galapagos has taken up its option to co-promote filgotinib with Gilead in certain European nations. The action is a big milestone on Galapagos’ path to becoming a commercial-stage biotech, but the news risked being overshadowed by news Gilead will be free to acquire its partner in two weeks.
Boehringer is paying €25 million ($29 million) upfront and committing to up to €600 million more to land an option on Autifony Therapeutics’ schizophrenia drug and associated platform. The deal gives Boehringer the chance to purchase a Kv3.1/3.2 positive modulator platform and the phase 1b schizophrenia drug it spawned.
Roche has entered into a neurological and developmental disorder drug discovery pact with Confo Therapeutics. The agreement gives Roche a potential source of small molecule agonists of an undisclosed G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR).
Celgene has teamed up with Cancer Research Technology (CRT) to secure a source of oncology assets. The five-year pact puts CRT in charge of discovering drugs that affect protein assembly and taking them through phase 1.