EuroBiotech Report—Lilly-Topas, AstraZeneca-Ethris, GSK-BenevolentAI, Roche priority review and Medivir-Ascletis


Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with two platform-validating deals for European biotechs. Evotec spinout Topas Therapeutics landed a deal with Eli Lilly on the strength of its immune tolerance platform. Ethris started harvesting the fruits of its research into pulmonary delivery of mRNA by pulling in a €25 million upfront fee from AstraZeneca. BenevolentAI went to Big Pharma looking not for money but for staff—and emerged from the hiring drive with an ex-GlaxoSmithKline research executive. Roche bagged priority review status for its hemophilia A drug. Medivir continued its retreat from hepatitis C, and more.—Nick Taylor

1. Lilly pens deal for Evotec spinout’s immune tolerance drugs

Eli Lilly has secured an option on immune tolerance drugs from Evotec spinout Topas Therapeutics. The multiyear agreement positions Lilly to work with Topas on candidates that convey tolerance to antigens linked to inflammation or autoimmune diseases.


Like this story? Subscribe to FierceBiotech!

Biopharma is a fast-growing world where big ideas come along every day. Our subscribers rely on FierceBiotech as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data in the world of biotech and pharma R&D. Sign up today to get biotech news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

2. AstraZeneca inks respiratory disease mRNA pact with Ethris

AstraZeneca has expanded its mRNA activities through an agreement with Ethris. The Big Pharma is paying €25 million ($29 million) up front to work with Ethris on respiratory diseases and secure the option to license the fruits of the collaboration.

3. BenevolentAI poaches drug discovery executive from GlaxoSmithKline

BenevolentAI has hired Ian Churcher, D.Phil., from GlaxoSmithKline. The appointment of Churcher as VP of drug discovery furthers the secretive AI-enabled startup’s track record of poaching executives from Big Pharma.

4. Roche gets priority review for hyped hemophilia A prospect

The FDA has granted priority review status to Roche’s hemophilia A candidate emicizumab, setting the Swiss drugmaker up to learn its fate by February 23. Roche enters the review process armed with impressive efficacy data that risks being undermined by safety concerns and a spat with Shire.

5. Medivir sells Chinese rights to hepatitis C drug to Ascletis

Medivir has offloaded the Chinese rights to its early-stage hepatitis C candidate to Ascletis. The deal continues the retreat from infectious diseases Medivir began after Gilead and others cornered the hepatitis C market.

And more articles of note>>

Suggested Articles

Californian RNA biotech Arrowhead will lose its COO and R&D head from next year but is hiring a new CMO and CSO to help steady its research exec team.

The biotech began testing the small molecule in a phase 3 trial of heavily pretreated small cell lung cancer patients late last year. 

Roche is spending up to $1.4 billion to snap up a scarring-focused biotech, nabbing an FDA breakthrough-tagged therapy in the process.