EuroBiotech Report—Alexion’s $855M deal, Novartis sells drug, Novo’s sickle cell play, Enterprise and Promethera

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with news of two Swedish biotechs, one that sold up in a big-ticket deal, another that gave a second chance to a once-failed drug. The acquired biotech is Wilson Therapeutics, which accepted an $855 million buyout offer from Alexion. Oncology Venture found itself on the other side of the deal table, picking up a multi-kinase inhibitor that flamed out at Novartis some years back. Our third Scandinavian biotech of the week, Novo Nordisk, also made a deal, committing up to $400 million to gain the worldwide rights to an epigenetic sickle cell drug. We finish with financing rounds for two up and coming European biotechs. Enterprise Therapeutics tapped Versant, Novartis and Forbion for cash to take its cystic fibrosis prospects into the clinic. And Promethera Biosciences topped up its bank account and bought in a TNF inhibitor to further its cell therapy NASH strategy. And more.Nick Taylor  

1. Alexion inks $855M takeover of Wilson Therapeutics

Alexion has struck an $855 million (€690 million) all-cash deal to acquire Wilson Therapeutics. The takeover will further Alexion’s attempt to rebuild its pipeline by giving it control of WTX101, a phase 3 treatment for the rare genetic disorder Wilson disease.

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2. Novartis offloads failed cancer drug to Oncology Venture

Oncology Venture has licensed a once-failed cancer drug from Novartis. The Swedish biotech picked up small molecule multi-kinase inhibitor dovitinib after an analysis of historic trial data suggested its drug response predictor will increase the likelihood of success.

3. Novo moves into sickle cell with $400M EpiDestiny deal

Novo Nordisk has moved into sickle cell disease through a licensing deal (PDF) with EpiDestiny. The $400 million deal gives Novo worldwide rights to an epigenetic treatment of the disease that is closing in on the start of a phase 2 trial.

4. Versant, Novartis power cystic fibrosis startup Enterprise Therapeutics to series B round

Versant Ventures and Novartis Venture Fund have co-led a £29 million ($41 million) series B round in cystic fibrosis disease startup Enterprise Therapeutics. The financing tees up Enterprise to take three projects into the clinic and push one of them through a midphase proof-of-concept trial. 

5. Promethera buys TNF drug to boost cell therapy NASH strategy

Promethera Biosciences has stepped up its NASH plans with the takeover of Baliopharm. The buyout gives Promethera control of a TNF receptor 1 inhibitor it hopes will amplify the effects of cell therapy HepaStem.

And more articles of note>>

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