EuroBiotech Report: J&J, AstraZeneca, Ablynx, OSE, GenSight and more

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with Johnson & Johnson’s foray into France. The Big Pharma struck a €155 million ($173 million) deal for the global rights to Nantes-based OSE Immunotherapeutics’ CD28 antagonist FR104 in autoimmune diseases and transplantations. Over in Paris, Novartis-backed GenSight Biologics spent the week gearing up for a €40 million IPO. The planned listing comes months after the gene therapy player dropped its ambition to list on Nasdaq. Across the border in Belgium, Ablynx saw its stock rise on the back of Phase IIb rheumatoid arthritis data. The $75 million question now is whether the data are strong enough to convince AbbVie to exercise its option on the drug. Our final story involves a done deal. Denmark’s Leo Pharma handed AstraZeneca $115 million and committed to $1 billion in milestones in return for the rights to tralokinumab in dermatology indications. And more. Nick Taylor

1. J&J bags CD28 antagonist from OSE in €155M autoimmune deal

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) has exercised its option to license FR104 from OSE Immunotherapeutics (EPA:OSE). The agreement, which follows shortly after the conclusion of a Phase I trial of FR104, sees J&J commit to pay up to €155 million ($173 million) for the global rights to the CD28 antagonist in autoimmune diseases and transplantations.

2. After Nasdaq setback, Novartis-backed gene therapy play plans €40M Paris IPO

GenSight Biologics is looking to bounce back from its failure to list on Nasdaq by pulling off an IPO in its home city of Paris. The Novartis ($NVS)-backed gene therapy player has downsized its ambitions in moving back across the Atlantic, with the currently targeted IPO haul of €40 million ($44 million) coming in well below the $100 million it first set out to raise on Nasdaq.

3. Ablynx’s RA drug matches Roche’s Actemra in PhIIb, but doubts about AbbVie buy-in remain

Ablynx (EBR:ABLX) has posted Phase IIb data showing its anti-IL-6R antibody vobarilizumab can compete with Roche’s ($RHHBY) rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra. But, with vobarilizumab failing to blow Actemra out of the water in terms of efficacy, doubts remain about whether AbbVie ($ABBV) will take up its option on the Ablynx drug.

4. Leo strikes $1B deal for AstraZeneca’s late-phase atopic dermatitis drug

Leo Pharma has agreed on a deal worth upward of $1 billion (€900 million) to buy the global rights to AstraZeneca’s ($AZN) atopic dermatitis drug tralokinumab in dermatology indications. The deal gives Leo a drug that has already cleared Phase IIb at a time when it is trying to build out its dermatology business.

And more articles of note>>