EuroBiotech Report—Novartis-GSK, Affimed U-turn, Amgen-Nuevolution, Roche and VC fund raises cash

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with the mixed fortunes of two European drug development programs. Novartis dialed up expectations for its triple combination asthma candidate QVM149 by beating GlaxoSmithKline’s Advair in a midphase trial. But Affimed had a more downbeat week, scrapping its phase 1 bispecific T-cell engager program after deciding the cost of escaping a clinical hold is too steep. Elsewhere, Amgen struck a $167 million deal to buy Danish drug discovery shop Nuevolution. Roche's Genentech moved into the immune tolerance space through a deal with Parvus Therapeutics. Fountain Healthcare Partners raised €118 million for its third life sciences fund. And more. — Nick Taylor
 
1. Novartis' asthma triplet beats GSK's Advair in phase 2 trial

Novartis’ triple combination asthma candidate QVM149 has beaten GlaxoSmithKline’s Advair in a phase 2 trial. The study linked QVM149 to statistically significant improvements in lung function, leading Novartis to talk up its potential to improve outcomes in uncontrolled asthma. 

2. Affimed scraps T-cell engager program, parts company with CSO

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Affimed has terminated its phase 1 bispecific T-cell engager program seven months after the FDA hit it with a clinical hold. The action shifts Affimed’s focus to innate cell engagers that it plans to combine with other modalities to treat cancers. 

3. Amgen bids $167M to buy drug discovery shop Nuevolution
 
Amgen has offered $167 million (€150 million) to buy Nuevolution. The takeover will give Amgen control of a drug discovery platform that landed Nuevolution deals with leading companies plus a pipeline of early-stage cancer and inflammation programs.

4. Genentech joins immune tolerance field with Parvus hookup

Genentech has teamed up with Parvus Therapeutics to develop immune tolerance drugs. The Roche subsidiary put together an $800 million-plus deal to work with Parvus on drugs to treat autoimmune diseases.
 
5. Fountain Healthcare raises €118M for EU-focused fund

Fountain Healthcare Partners has raised €118 million ($131 million) for its third life sciences fund. The transatlantic venture capital shop, which backed Inflazome and KaNDy Therapeutics with its second fund, will pump most of the money into European biopharma and medtech companies.
 
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