EuroBiotech Report—Medicxi’s $300M fund, diabetes data, U.K. election shock, LifeArc fund and OSE-MSK alliance

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Medicxi, Lexicon, the U.K. elections, LifeArc, and OSE Immunotherapeutics were in the news this week.

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with two new sources of cash for European biotechs. Medicxi made the biggest splash by unveiling a $300 million (€268 million) fund aimed at biotechs with drugs deep in the clinic. Novartis and Verily made major investments in the fund. At the other end of the spectrum, LifeArc revealed a £30 million vehicle to invest in early preclinical programs that may otherwise struggle to secure financing. Another phase 3 trial of Lexicon PharmaceuticalsSanofi-partnered dual SGLT1 and SGLT2 inhibitor sotagliflozin met its primary endpoint. The shock outcome of the United Kingdom election cast doubts on how the country will leave the European Union and what it means for biotech. OSE Immunotherapeutics teamed up with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to advance its anti-CD127 antibody OSE-703. And more. —Nick Taylor

1. Novartis, Verily back $300M Medicxi biotech growth fund

Novartis and Verily have helped Medicxi raise $300 million (€268 million) to invest in late-stage drug developers. The fund sees Medicxi move beyond its original focus on early-stage biotechs to give European biotechs with drugs in phase 2 and beyond an alternative to selling up or partnering.

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2. Lexicon diabetes pill hits endpoint in another phase 3, teeing up regulatory filings by partner Sanofi

Lexicon Pharmaceuticals has posted upbeat data from another phase 3 trial of its Sanofi-partnered dual SGLT1 and SGLT2 inhibitor sotagliflozin. More patients in the treatment arm hit an established target for glycemic control than did in the control cohort, resulting in Lexicon chalking up its third phase 3 success for the diabetes tablet.

3. Shock U.K. election result creates uncertainty for biotech

The British biopharma industry is facing further uncertainty after last week’s general election left the country without a clear ruling party. Early polls suggested Theresa May’s Conservatives would win by a landslide, empowering them to implement a hard Brexit and a biotech-friendly industrial strategy. But such certainties were dashed by a public that yet again threw politicians a curve ball.

4. LifeArc, née MRC Technology, sets up high-risk seed fund

LifeArc has set up a seed fund to invest in early preclinical projects that are overlooked because of the high risk of failure at that stage of R&D. The British medical research charity, formerly known as MRC Technology, sees the fund filling a perceived gap in the commercial investment landscape.

5. OSE, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center ally to advance anti-CD127 NSCLC candidate

OSE Immunotherapeutics has teamed up with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) to work on its anti-CD127 antibody OSE-703. The research program will assess the potential for the candidate to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and other solid tumors.

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