EuroBiotech Report—BioNTech megaround, Bristol-Myers backs Enterome, Boehringer VC, Pfizer-lTeos and Protalix

BioNTech stole the limelight in a huge week for VC investments.

Welcome to the first EuroBiotech Report of 2018.

We start, inevitably, with BioNTech, which stole the limelight in a huge week for VC investments. The German mRNA pioneer pulled in $270 million (€224 million), setting it up to power forward in the field in which it made its name while branching out into CAR-T and other modalities. That round put others raised by biotechs on both sides of the Atlantic in the shade.

But in any other week some of the other financings would have been the star attractions. In France, Enterome took the lid off a €32 million, Bristol-Myers Squibb-backed series D round that puts it in a position to run proof-of-concept microbiome trials. Boehringer Ingelheim did its bit to ensure the next generation of biotechs will have access to cash by more than doubling the size of its VC fund. Pfizer dropped iTeos Therapeutics’ IDO1 inhibitor after being underwhelmed by the efficacy in a phase 1 trial. Protalix talked up phase 2 data on its oral anti-TNF therapy. And more.

- Nick Taylor  

1. BioNTech raises $270M A round to fuel mRNA, CAR-T R&D

BioNTech has raised $270 million (€224 million). The series A round positions the German biotech to mount a multifront attack on cancer, spearheaded by mRNA therapies and supported by a clutch of other modalities including CAR-T cells.

2. Enterome gets €32M, Bristol-Myers Squibb backing, for cancer work

French microbiome biotech Enterome has completed a €32 million ($38.5 million) series D round with the help of some big-name players.

3. Boehringer more than doubles VC fund with boosted focus, reach

Boehringer Ingelheim is deepening its venture fund pockets from €100 million to a meatier €250 million ($300 million) as it looks to change up its investment strategy.

4. Pfizer drops iTeos IDO1 cancer drug due to lack of efficacy

Pfizer has returned the rights to the IDO1 inhibitor it licensed from iTeos Therapeutics. The Big Pharma dumped the drug after failing to find signs of efficacy in a phase 1 brain cancer trial, but iTeos thinks it has a future and is preparing to raise money to power ahead solo.

5. Israel’s Protalix claims early success with oral anti-TNF candidate

An oral alternative to injectable anti-TNF drugs—a mainstay of inflammatory disease therapy for decades—has shown encouraging activity in a phase 2 trial.

And more articles of note>>