EuroBiotech Report—AstraZeneca in China, Novo's pipeline, Vifor and Ipsen

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with AstraZeneca, which reaffirmed its commitment to China by outlining plans to double the head count at its Shanghai R&D center and create a $1 billion investment fund. Elsewhere, Novo Nordisk reported comings and goings from its pipeline. Next-generation oral GLP-1 analog OG2023SC is out, supplanted by an enhanced semaglutide formulation, while a nonalcoholic steatohepatitis prospect is joining the preclinical pipeline from UBE Industries. Vifor Pharma teamed up with Evotec to develop nephrology drugs. The head of Shire's neuroscience unit left to join Ipsen. And more. — Nick Taylor
 
1. AstraZeneca creates $1B Chinese fund, vows to double R&D team

AstraZeneca is stepping up its commitment to China, detailing plans to double the head count at its Shanghai R&D site and create a $1 billion investment fund. The initiatives build on the rapid growth AstraZeneca has achieved in China in recent years. 
 
2. Novo drops oral GLP-1 analog to focus on next-gen Rybelsus

Novo Nordisk has stopped development of its next-generation oral GLP-1 analog OG2023SC. The Danish drugmaker took the action after making progress with an enhanced version of its existing oral semaglutide formulation.
 
3. Novo bags rights to UBE's preclinical NASH prospect

Novo Nordisk has picked up global rights to a preclinical nonalcoholic steatohepatitis candidate from UBE Industries. The deal gives Novo control of UD-014, a small-molecule inhibitor of semicarbazide-sensitive amine oxidase/vascular adhesion protein-1.
 
4. Vifor commits €25M to nephrology R&D joint venture with Evotec

Vifor Pharma has committed €25 million ($28 million) to a nephrology joint venture with Evotec. The initiative will see Evotec mine a kidney biobank for new renal therapy targets before the joint venture out-licenses resulting assets to Vifor.
 
5. Ipsen grabs new R&D lead as Shire's neuro head leaves amid Takeda takeover

Howard Mayer is moving to French biotech Ipsen as its new executive vice president and head of R&D from Dec. 1 after being at Shire for nearly seven years.
 
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