EuroBiotech Report: Novo slips, Brexit threats, GSK gene therapy and a new VC fund

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. The race between Sanofi and Novo Nordisk to bring a insulin-GLP-1 agonist combination to market took another twist this week. Once again, the FDA was the architect of the shift in the story. Having delayed its verdict on Sanofi’s Zealand Pharma-partnered drug last month, the FDA began September by punting Novo’s decision date back by three months. Regulators were in the headlines back on Novo, Sanofi and Zealand’s home continent, too. The stories were triggered by a report from the Japanese government, which delivered a Brexit-related warning to its counterpart in the United Kingdom. As the Japanese government sees it, if the European Medicines Agency leaves London following Brexit, the U.K. can expect to see drugmakers follow the regulator to the mainland. News on the mainland this week centered on GlaxoSmithKline, MolMed and iBionext. GSK dialed up the value of its gene therapy pact with MolMed by 41%. And iBionext raised €46 million to invest in life science startups from its base in Paris. And more. Nick Taylor

1. Sanofi, Zealand retake lead in diabetes race after FDA delays decision on Novo drug

The U.S. FDA has delivered another twist in the race to win approval for an insulin-GLP-1 agonist combination product. Having handed the lead to Novo Nordisk ($NVO) last month by delaying a decision on Sanofi ($SNY) and Zealand Pharma’s (CPH:ZEAL) hopeful, the FDA has now reordered the field once again.

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2. Japan to U.K.: Keep EMA post-Brexit, or our drugmakers may move R&D to mainland Europe

Japan has warned the United Kingdom that its drugmakers may refocus their R&D activities on mainland Europe following Brexit. In a 15-page letter, Japanese officials told their U.K. counterparts that if the European Medicines Agency (EMA) leaves London, the R&D budgets of biopharma companies may follow the regulator.

3. GSK dials up value of MolMed gene therapy pact to support growing operation

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) has bumped up the value of its gene therapy pact with MolMed (BIT:MLM). The revisions increase the minimum value of the contract by 41%, clearing GSK to delve deeper into MolMed’s gene therapy development and manufacturing capabilities at a time when it is looking to establish itself at the forefront of the nascent field.

4. IBionext moves into VC financing with €46M first close of growth fund

IBionext Growth Fund has pulled in close to half of the €100 million ($113 million) it hopes to raise to invest in biotech and healthcare startups. The VC fund, which is an extension of the iBionext network that spawned GenSight Biologics (EPA:SIGHT), is planning to use the money to create new companies in Paris.

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