EuroBiotech Report—Brexit, J&J-Idorsia, Cellectis and Bayer

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week in the United Kingdom, where leaked reports dialed up expectations for the government’s “sector deal” with the life sciences industry before reality deflated them. In mainland Europe, Johnson & Johnson delivered on expectations by taking up its $230 million option on one of the drugs it left behind in its acquisition of Actelion. Cellectis named Servier’s former director of oncology R&D as its CMO. Bayer posted data on the Loxo Oncology drug it recently picked up for big money. And more.  

1. Mystery U.S. fund plans $1B U.K. investment: Financial Times

A U.S. life sciences fund is set to invest up to $1 billion (€840 million) in the United Kingdom biotech sector, the Financial Times reports. The as-yet-unidentified fund will reportedly embark on the spending spree while shifting a “significant” chunk of its operations from the U.S. to the U.K.

2. Biopharma deal that defied Brexit skeptics fizzles

The United Kingdom government has unveiled its highly anticipated deal with the life sciences sector. As previously leaked, the document details planned investments from drug developers including GlaxoSmithKline, although many of the commitments are vague or already known.

3. J&J snaps up Idorsia’s resistant hypertension candidate, paying $230M

J&J’s Janssen Biotech unit just exercised a $230 million option to partner with Idorsia on aprocitentan (ACT-132577), a drug for resistant hypertension that hit its objectives in a phase 2 test earlier this year and is due to start registration trials early next year.

4. Cellectis lures ex-Servier cancer R&D chief back to industry

Cellectis has named Stéphane Depil, M.D., Ph.D., as its CMO and senior vice president of R&D. The appointment sees the former director of oncology R&D at Servier return to the industry after a spell directing the cancer immunotherapy program at a cancer center in Lyon.

5. Loxo, Bayer maintain 90%-plus response rate in cancer trial

Bayer has shared results showing why it was willing to spend big on Loxo Oncology’s larotrectinib. The latest data drop shows 94% of children with advanced solid or primary CNS tumors remain on the oral TRK inhibitor.

And more articles of note>>