Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with Lundbeck, which sated its need for near-term growth drivers by placing a big bet on Alder BioPharmaceuticals. Lundbeck is set to buy the biotech for almost $2 billion (€1.8 billion). Elsewhere, several European biotechs raised money. Themis pulled in €40 million in a Merck-backed series D to fund a phase 3 chikungunya vaccine trial. Versantis raised €16 million to take a liver failure drug to clinical proof of concept in two indications. And Divide & Conquer exited stealth with £10 million from Medicxi. In Russia, the facility that houses the smallpox virus suffered an explosion and fire. And more. — Nick Taylor
1. Lundbeck pens $2B Alder takeover to boost brain disease pipeline
Lundbeck has struck a deal to buy migraine drug developer Alder BioPharmaceuticals for almost $2 billion (€1.8 billion). The takeover centers on a near-approval anti-CGRP antibody that could address Lundbeck’s need for near-term revenue drivers to mitigate the upcoming loss of patent protection on Northera.
2. Themis raises €40M to run phase 3 chikungunya vaccine trial
Themis has raised €40 million ($44 million). The Merck-backed series D positions Themis to take its chikungunya vaccine through a phase 3 trial and move the lead candidate from its immuno-oncology R&D program into humans.
3. Versantis raises cash to take liver failure drug to clinical POC
Versantis has raised a €16 million ($18 million) series B round. The Swiss biotech will use the money to gather clinical proof-of-concept data on a drug designed to clear out ammonia and other toxic metabolites that contribute to poor health outcomes in liver disease patients.
4. Medicxi founds biotech to Divide & Conquer tough solid tumors
Moncef Slaoui and his colleagues at Medicxi have taken the wraps off a new oncology startup, Divide & Conquer. The biotech wants to interrupt the cell-to-cell communication that may make some solid tumors hard to treat, thereby rendering cancers including glioblastoma vulnerable to existing drugs.
5. Blast rocks Russian lab that stores smallpox virus
The Russian facility that houses the smallpox virus has experienced a gas-cylinder explosion that led to a fire. No biohazardous substances were in the room where the explosion happened, according to the Russian State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology.
And more articles of note>>