EuroBiotech Report—Merck-Themis, Juvenescence financing, GSK filing and NuCana fail

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with Themis, which unveiled a vaccine R&D pact with Merck, its first such deal with an industry player. Merck is participating in a financing round at Themis as part of the agreement. Elsewhere, Jim Mellon’s Juvenescence raised $100 million (€90 million) to take its stable of anti-aging programs to readouts. GlaxoSmithKline filed for approval of renal anemia drug daprodustat in Japan. NuCana stopped a phase 3 trial of its pancreatic cancer candidate early for futility. And more. — Nick Taylor
 
1. Merck teams up with Themis to develop vaccines

Merck has struck a deal to work with Themis Bioscience on vaccine R&D. The agreement sees Merck invest in Themis and commit up to $200 million (€180 million) in milestones to secure vaccines against an undisclosed target.
 
2. Juvenescence raises $100M to fund longevity assets to early readouts

Juvenescence has raised $100 million (€90 million) to advance multiple anti-aging programs. The U.K. company, which was co-founded by Jim Mellon, has reeled in $165 million over 18 months to establish itself at the forefront of the nascent longevity sector.
 
3. Chasing Astellas and Mitsubishi, GSK files for Japanese approval of oral anemia drug

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GlaxoSmithKline has filed for approval of renal anemia drug daprodustat in Japan. The filing follows data from Japanese phase 3 trials that assessed the oral hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor in chronic kidney disease patients.
 
4. NuCana's retooled chemo drug comes up short in pancreatic cancer phase 3

NuCana pulled off its $100 million Nasdaq debut on the promise of its reformulated cancer meds, including a version of Eli Lilly’s Gemzar the company hopes will replace the veteran chemotherapy in some cancers. But that drug has hit a snag in its lead indication: pancreatic cancer. 
 
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