EuroBiotech Report: AstraZeneca HQ, Barcelona’s EMA bid, argenx IPO, Circassia defends trials and Vernalis’ FDA blow


Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. AstraZeneca wrapped up one stage in the construction of the Cambridge facility that will become its headquarters and largest oncology R&D center. The fly in the ointment? Construction is running two years behind schedule and 50% over budget. Barcelona wants to help the European Medicines Agency avoid such delays and budget overruns with its relocation. The Catalan city stepped up its pitch to host the regulator after Brexit by offering it the iconic Torre Agbar skyscraper. Argenx filed to raise up to $75 million (€69 million) in a Nasdaq IPO. Circassia CEO Steve Harris defended the company’s failed allergy clinical trial program, claiming “I don't think there's anything I feel we could have done differently.” The FDA knocked back Vernalis’ application for approval of CCP-07. And more.—Nick Taylor

1. Late and over budget, AstraZeneca R&D hub nears finish line

AstraZeneca has taken another step toward the completion of its new headquarters and R&D hub in Cambridge, U.K. But progress has been slower and cost more than anticipated, with AstraZeneca saying it will move in two years later and spend £170 million ($218 million) more than planned.

2. Barcelona pitches ready-to-go home for EMA in iconic building

The Spanish government has ratcheted up the pressure on the European Council to make a quick decision on the new home of the region’s drug regulator. Officials warned that delays will increase the risks of the treacherous transition of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) away from London—and pitched Barcelona and its iconic Torre Agbar skyscraper as a ready-to-go answer to the problem.

3. Argenx files for IPO to take autoimmune drug to phase 3

Argenx has filed to raise up to $75 million (€69 million) in a Nasdaq IPO. The European biotech is heading across the pond in search of cash to take lead candidate ARGX-113 to the cusp of a pivotal trial while also hustling cancer candidate ARGX-110 through midphase studies.

4. Circassia defends allergy flops as business reboot continues

Circassia CEO Steve Harris has defended the running of the company’s allergy trials, stating nothing could have been done better. Harris made the comments after presenting annual results that mark another step in the transition of Circassia away from its original area of focus.

5. Vernalis falls after FDA knocks back cough-cold drug filing

The FDA has knocked back Vernalis’ filing for approval of CCP-07. The setback wiped 12% off Vernalis’ stock price in early trading as investors weighed the impact of the at-best-delayed approval of a cough-cold drug projected to generate peak sales of $150 million (€140 million) to $500 million.

And more articles of note>>