EuroBiotech Report: Bristol-Myers' HER2 deal, diabetes data, €20M I-O Series A, mRNA dealmaker and Atlantic FDA filing

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F-star Alpha, Poxel, ImCheck Therapeutics, CureVac, and Atlantic Healthcare were in the news this week.

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start in the United Kingdom, where F-star spent the week digesting the news that Bristol-Myers Squibb has dropped its option to buy asset-centric spinout F-star Alpha. Bristol-Myers could have bought the company’s human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-targeted therapy for up to $475 million (€434 million). On the continent, shares in Poxel jumped 40% after it posted data from a phase 2b trial of its Type 2 diabetes candidate. Checkpoint inhibitor startup ImCheck Therapeutics got going with a €20 million Series A co-led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund. And mRNA player CureVac hired a dealmaker to lead its U.S. subsidiary and tasked him with ramping up its business development activities. Back in the U.K., Atlantic Healthcare began a rolling FDA filing for its IBD drug. And more. Nick Taylor

1. Bristol-Myers drops option to buy HER2 cancer biotech

Bristol-Myers Squibb has dropped its option to buy single-asset cancer biotech F-star Alpha. The Big Pharma snagged an option to buy the F-star spinout and its human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-targeted therapy for up to $475 million (€434 million) in 2014 but has backed out of the deal partway through phase 1.

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2. Poxel shares jump 40% after diabetes trial hits primary goal

A phase 2b trial of Poxel’s Type 2 diabetes candidate imeglimin has met its primary endpoint. The data sent shares in Poxel soaring 40% and set the company up to push into a phase 3 trial before the end of the year.

3. Boehringer backs €20M Series A in checkpoint inhibitor startup

Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund has joined with Kurma Partners and Idinvest to lead a €20 million ($22 million) Series A in checkpoint inhibitor startup ImCheck Therapeutics. The investment sets ImCheck up to advance antibodies that act on gamma-delta T cells through preclinical with a view to entering phase 1 in 2019.

4. MRNA player CureVac tasks new U.S. CEO with striking deals

CureVac has hired Daniel Menichella as CEO of its Boston-based subsidiary. The appointment gives the mRNA specialist and Moderna rival a dealmaker last seen helping Bamboo Therapeutics to a $645 million (€591 million) takeover by Pfizer.

5. Atlantic starts rolling FDA submission for antisense drug

Atlantic Healthcare has started a rolling submission for its antisense drug alicaforsen enema. The transatlantic pharma company got the process going by filing its nonclinical package with the FDA, positioning it to hit the ground running if its phase 3 trial in a rare form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) delivers positive data.

And more articles of note>>

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