EuroBiotech Report: Brexit, Shire, IPO postponement, Keytruda, Galderma and more

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. With the British biotech sector on edge following the Brexit vote, the new prime minister unveiled a leadership team that suggests the days of the industry getting special treatment are over. George Freeman, the first, and now potentially last, life science minister anywhere on Earth, has moved on, leaving the industry without a dedicated representative in government. There was activity among the organizations Freeman used to represent, too. Shire took a stake in Oxford, U.K.-based Chronos Therapeutics as part of a deal that saw it offload three CNS programs. And MRC Technology sold a slice of the royalties it was set to earn from Merck’s Keytruda for $150 million (€135 million). Over in France, Poxel pulled in €26.5 million to fund a Phase III trial of its Type 2 diabetes drug, while simultaneously putting its plans to list on Nasdaq on ice. Galderma Pharma licensed an atopic dermatitis drug from Roche’s Chugai Pharmaceutical. And more. Nick Taylor

1. U.K. loses minister for life sciences as Freeman reassigned in post-Brexit rejig

George Freeman has been moved on from the post of minister for life sciences as part of a reshuffle initiated by new U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May in the wake of the Brexit vote. The rejig leaves the life sciences sector at least temporarily without a dedicated minister--but with an ally in a key policy role--at a time when it is trying to shape the outcome of the vote to leave the European Union.

2. Shire takes stake in Chronos, hands over rights to three CNS programs

Shire ($SHPG) has picked up a stake in Chronos Therapeutics. The equity stake is one component of a broader deal that sees Shire give three central nervous system (CNS) programs to Chronos in return for milestones and an opportunity to buy back the drugs under certain circumstances.

3. Postponing Nasdaq IPO, Poxel raises €26.5M to move diabetes drug into PhIII

Poxel (EPA:POXEL) has hit pause on its plan to file for an IPO on Nasdaq. The Merck Serono spinout indicated its interest in a Nasdaq IPO earlier this year, but has now opted to postpone the plan in favor of using its Euronext listing to generate the €26.5 million ($29.2 million) it needs to advance its Type 2 diabetes drug into Phase III in Japan.

4. MRCT offloads Keytruda royalty rights to DRI, raising $150M for new research

MRC Technology has cashed in on one of its big successes, the Merck ($MRK) PD-1 immunotherapy Keytruda. The U.K. nonprofit, which humanized the antibody back in 2006, sold a slice of its rights to future royalties to DRI Capital, resulting in a $150 million (€135 million) windfall the organization will funnel into new research projects, Reuters reports.

5. Galderma licenses PhII atopic dermatitis drug from Roche’s Chugai

Galderma Pharma has picked up the rights to a midphase atopic dermatitis and pruritus drug from Roche’s ($RHHBY) Chugai Pharmaceutical. The deal gives Galderma an exclusive license to develop and market the drug, the first biologic in its portfolio, in all countries except Japan and Taiwan.

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