EuroBiotech Report—Bayer deal, GSK, Takeda-Heptares, Transgene fail and U.K. AI plan

Map of Europe

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with dealmaking activity at a clutch of large pharma companies. Bayer made the biggest splash, handing over $240 million (€214 million) upfront to buy the remaining stake in its cell therapy joint venture, BlueRock Therapeutics. GlaxoSmithKline sent assets the other way, offloading its Ebola vaccine portfolio to the Sabin Vaccine Institute, while Takeda entered into a multitarget R&D agreement with Sosei Heptares. Elsewhere, a phase 3 trial of Transgene's Pexa-Vec oncolytic virus was stopped early for futility. The U.K. outlined plans to invest £250 million in an artificial intelligence lab. And more. — Nick Taylor
1. Bayer to pay $240M to buy BlueRock cell therapy joint venture

Bayer is set to pay $240 million (€214 million) upfront to buy the remaining stake in its cell therapy joint venture, BlueRock Therapeutics. The deal will give Bayer control of an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) pipeline led by a late-preclinical Parkinson’s disease candidate.
2. GSK offloads Ebola vaccines as testing of J&J shot ramps up

GlaxoSmithKline has licensed Ebola vaccines to the Sabin Vaccine Institute. The agreement coincides with the news that Uganda has begun testing a Johnson & Johnson Ebola vaccine. 
3. Takeda, Sosei form gastrointestinal disease R&D pact


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Takeda and Sosei Heptares have entered into a multitarget R&D agreement. Sosei is set to receive $26 million (€23 million) in upfront and near-term payments, plus up to $1.2 billion in milestones, to apply its GPCR expertise to targets of interest to Takeda.
4. Phase 3 trial of Transgene's oncolytic virus halted for futility

A phase 3 liver cancer trial of Transgene and SillaJen’s oncolytic virus has been stopped early for futility. The setback sent the share prices of the companies downward and added to doubts about the effectiveness of oncolytic viruses. 
5. U.K. commits £250M to AI lab, seeks industry partners

The U.K. has unveiled plans to invest £250 million ($303 million) in a healthcare artificial intelligence lab in the belief it can help drive advances including the development of new dementia treatments. 
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