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

Map of Europe

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.

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>>