EuroBiotech Report—Bayer's $150M site, Merck, F-star, Philogen round and roxa data

Map of Europe
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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week across the Atlantic in California, where Germany's Bayer sketched out plans to spend $150 million to build a cell therapy facility. The facility will occupy part of Bayer's existing site in Berkeley. Back in Europe, Merck KGaA and F-star revised their alliance, leaving the smaller partner to take forward the lead, clinical-phase drug solo. Italian antibody shop Philogen raised $70 million to advance its oncology pipeline. FibroGen posted an opaque update on its AstraZeneca-partnered roxadustat, sparking concerns about the safety of the drug. And more. — Nick Taylor
 
1. Bayer puts up $150M to build West Coast cell culture facility

Bayer is investing $150 million to build a cell culture facility in California. The 40,000-square-foot site will support Bayer’s pipeline of oncology and cardiology programs when it comes online late in 2021.

2. Merck KGaA retools F-star pact, walks away from lead PD-L1 drug
 
Merck KGaA has revised the bispecific immuno-oncology antibody agreement it struck with F-star in 2017. The Big Pharma exercised its option on a discovery program but walked away from phase 1 LAG-3 PD-L1 bispecific FS118.

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3. Italian cancer startup Philogen gets off an impressive $70M funding round

Quiet antibody biotech Philogen, which has had a difficult and long path, got off a healthy €62 million ($70 million) funding round and brought on new board members as it looks to push on with late-stage development of its oncology assets after decades of development.
 
4. FibroGen sinks as roxadustat safety results confuse investors

FibroGen has reported top-line results from a pooled analysis of its phase 3 roxadustat safety data. Shares in FibroGen plummeted following the readout as the wording of the number-free statement and subsequent conference call raised concerns about the safety of the kidney disease drug.

And more articles of note>>    

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