EuroBiotech Report: Alzheimer’s flop, BMS-Innate fail, EMA, Serono spinout gets cash and Targovax data


Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with two big clinical setbacks. Lundbeck suffered one of the blows: the Danish drugmaker revealed the second and third phase 3 trials of its Alzheimer’s drug had failed, leaving the program without a path to a regulatory filing. The situation at Innate Pharma is less terminal. The French biotech disclosed its Bristol-Myers Squibb-partnered checkpoint inhibitor fell short in a phase 2 acute myeloid leukemia trial. But with combo studies still to come, lirilumab could yet come good. Novo Nordisk backed Denmark’s pitch to host the European Medicines Agency post-Brexit. Merck Serono spinout Prexton Therapeutics raised €29 million ($31 million) to run proof-of-concept Parkinson’s trials. Shares in Targovax jumped on two-year survival data in resected pancreatic cancer. And more.—Nick Taylor

1. Lundbeck calls time on Alzheimer’s drug after more failures

Lundbeck is calling time on development of Alzheimer’s candidate idalopirdine after it chalked up a clean sweep of failures in phase 3. The Danish drugmaker made the decision after learning the 5-HT6 agonist, which failed its first phase 3 in September, had come up short in its second and third late-stage studies.

2. BMS, Innate checkpoint inhibitor flunks AML phase 2

A phase 2 trial of Innate Pharma’s lirilumab in elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has missed its primary endpoint. The Bristol-Myers Squibb-partnered checkpoint inhibitor failed to improve leukemia-free survival by more than placebo.

3. Novo Nordisk backs Denmark’s bid to host EMA post-Brexit

Denmark has formally joined the list of countries competing to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) after Brexit. And the campaign has already enlisted high-profile support, with local success story Novo Nordisk talking up Copenhagen and its ex-CEO Lars Rebien Sorensen signing up as special envoy for the bid.

4. Serono spinout raises €29M for phase 2 Parkinson’s trials

Prexton Therapeutics has raised €29 million ($31 million) to take its Parkinson’s disease candidate through two phase 2 trials. The Series B positions the Merck Serono spinout to build on last year’s phase 1 success by testing the mGluR4 positive allosteric modulator in larger efficacy studies.

5. Targovax climbs after posting survival data from I-O trial

Targovax has posted two-year survival data from a phase 1/2 trial of TG01 in resected pancreatic cancer patients. More than 60% of participants were alive two years after starting treatment, sparking a 40% surge in the stock price of Targovax.

And more articles of note>>