EuroBiotech Report—Merck-CRUK, U.K. drug discovery, Biofrontera IPO, Inositec CMO and Pherecydes series B

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with one story about what the United Kingdom is doing well and another about how it can do better. The success story involves Merck KGaA penning another deal with Cancer Research UK, which continues to act as conduit for the advancement of British academic research into biopharma pipelines. The could do better story comes from the Medicines Discovery Catapult, which has detailed the ways in which it plans to improve early-stage research in the U.K. Biofrontera filed for a Nasdaq IPO to bankroll skin cancer clinical trials. Inositec raided Roche for a CMO. Pherecydes raised money to run bacteriophage-based anti-infective clinical trials. And more.—Nick Taylor  

1. Merck KGaA taps CRUK, ICR for source of cancer candidates

Merck KGaA has teamed up with Cancer Research UK (CRUK) to access a source of cancer candidates. The pact sets Merck up to work with researchers at CRUK’s unit at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) on three preclinical oncology projects.

2. U.K. seeks to help startups by easing access to samples, data and disease models

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In this virtual environment, we will look at current and future trends for ongoing virtual trials, diving into the many ways companies can improve patient engagement and trial behavior to enhance retention with a focus on emerging technology and harmonized data access across the clinical trial system.

The Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) has detailed how it plans to help biotechs in the United Kingdom address their current pain points. Officials at the government-backed unit identified efforts to make informatics tools, preclinical models, data and samples available to startups as among the best uses of its resources.

3. Biofrontera files for IPO to run skin cancer clinical trials

Biofrontera has filed for a Nasdaq IPO. The German company is seeking $22 million (€18 million) to support a clutch of clinical trials designed to expand use of Ameluz in types of skin cancer and other dermatological conditions.

4. Inositec names ex-Roche, Novartis staffer as CMO

Inositec has named former Roche and Novartis staffer Frits van Alphen, M.D. as its CMO. Van Alphen joins Inositec as the biotech gears up to move its lead vascular calcification candidate into the clinic next year.

5. Pherecydes raises cash to trial anti-infective phage therapies

Pherecydes has raised money to take bacteriophage-based anti-infectives into clinical trials. The €8.7 million ($10.6 million) series B will support studies targeting two bacterial infections and the creation of a drug manufacturing unit.

And more articles of note>>