EuroBiotech Report—Ipsen's woes, Roche failure, Chiesi, Bayer and Woodford

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with the ongoing fallout from Ipsen's $1 billion bet on palovarotene. Rocked by back-to-back clinical missteps, Ipsen recorded a €669 million partial impairment on the rare disease drug. Elsewhere, Roche's anti-amyloid beta antibody failed a clinical trial ahead of a readout from phase 3 studies targeting a broader population. Chiesi Farmaceutici set up a rare disease unit in Boston. Bayer moved 400 researchers to an outsourced small molecule unit. Efforts to sell Neil Woodford's biotech holdings faltered. And more. — Nick Taylor
 
1. Ipsen takes €669M hit as palovarotene's prospects wither

Ipsen has recorded a €669 million ($728 million) partial impairment on a rare disease drug it bought last year. The prospects of the drug, palovarotene, took back-to-back hits around the end of 2019, leading Ipsen to dramatically dial down its expectations.
 
2. Lilly and Roche's antibodies fail late-phase Alzheimer's test

Anti-amyloid beta antibodies in development at Eli Lilly and Roche have failed to improve outcomes in a phase 2/3 Alzheimer’s disease trial. Despite the setback, Roche is continuing two phase 3 trials of its asset in a broader population of Alzheimer’s patients.
 
3. Chiesi creates Boston rare disease unit ahead of Fabry launch

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Chiesi Farmaceutici has set up a rare disease unit in Boston. The division will develop treatments for patients with rare lysosomal storage, hematological and ophthalmological disorders.
 
4. Bayer moves 400 R&D jobs to CRO-run small molecules unit

Back in 2018, Bayer mulled outsourcing R&D as part of a greater restructuring. Now, the company is pulling the trigger on that plan, transferring 400 staffers to a “full-fledged research center” to be set up by Nuvisan, a German CRO, in Berlin. 
 
5. Collapse of £550M deal to sell Woodford's biotechs sparks fire sale fears

A £550 million ($711 million) deal to find new homes for Neil Woodford’s biotech holdings has collapsed, raising the prospect that stakes in companies including Immunocore will be auctioned off for knock-down prices.
 
And more articles of note>>

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