EuroBiotech Report: Boehringer, Celyad, CAR-T, IPOs, gene therapy and more

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with a pair of immuno-oncology deals. Cell Medica opened its wallet to acquire Delenex, a Swiss company that emerged from Alcon’s $589 million (€531 million) takeover of ESBATech with assets its new owner sees as enabling CAR programs. And Celyad handed over certain regional rights to its allogeneic NKR-2 T-cell immunotherapy to Ono Pharmaceutical in return for $12 million upfront and close to $300 million in milestones. Christine Placet, fresh from selling Trophos to Roche in a $470 million deal, jumped into another hot field: gene therapy. And having landed at Horama, Placet has persuaded investors to bankroll the advance of its retinitis pigmentosa treatment into the clinic. Antibiotic player Motif Bio filed for a Nasdaq IPO. Boehringer Ingelheim teamed up with the University of Dundee to develop a new class of medicines. And more. Nick Taylor

1. Cell Medica buys Delenex for tech to power next-gen CAR collaboration with Baylor

Cell Medica has bought Delenex, a Swiss biotech that spun out of ESBATech as part of its $589 million (€531 million) takeover by Novartis’ ($NVS) Alcon. The deal gives Cell Medica single-chain variable fragment (scFv) technology that will serve as the targeting system for the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) therapies it is codeveloping with Baylor College of Medicine.

2. Celyad inks $300M Ono I/O deal, calls out differences between it and Juno

Celyad ($CYAD) has struck a JPY 31 billion ($306 million) deal with Ono Pharmaceutical for the rights to its allogeneic NKR-2 T-cell immunotherapy in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The deal gives Celyad an upfront cash boost and a source of ongoing income at a time when it is trying to recover from the late-phase failure of its heart failure cell therapy.

3. Fresh from selling Trophos to Roche, Placet bags cash for gene therapy upstart

Christine Placet has rounded up money for her first venture since leading Trophos to a $470 million ($521 million) takeover by Roche ($RHHBY). The financing sees Placet secure Series A funding to bankroll her plans for Horama, an ophthalmic gene therapy company that is advancing a treatment for retinitis pigmentosa toward the clinic.

4. Motif Bio plans Nasdaq IPO to bankroll PhIII antibiotic trial

Motif Bio (LON:MTFB) is forging ahead with plans to list its stock on Nasdaq. The British biotech has formalized its long-standing interest in a U.S. listing by filing paperwork with the SEC, setting it up for an IPO it hopes will deliver the cash it needs to wrap up a Phase III trial of its antibiotic, iclaprim.

5. Boehringer strikes deal to develop protein-degrading cancer drugs

Boehringer Ingelheim has teamed up with the University of Dundee to develop proteolysis-targeting chimeric molecules (PROTACs), a new class of drugs designed to degrade proteins. The idea is to leverage the cell’s own disposal system to eliminate proteins involved in the development of diseases including cancer.

And more articles of note>>