EuroBiotech Report—Reed exits Roche, Autolus CAR-T IPO, U.K. seeks EMA role, cancer vaccines and cystic fibrosis data

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with big news in Basel, where Roche revealed John Reed, M.D., Ph.D., is stepping down. Reed is leaving his post as head of Roche’s research and early development unit to return to the U.S. for personal reasons. Over in the U.K., next-generation CAR-T startup Autolus disclosed it has filed for a Nasdaq IPO. And cancer vaccine player Oxford Vacmedix pulled in series A funds from a syndicate of Asian investors. People at both firms likely had one eye on a speech made by Theresa May in which the British Prime Minister floated the idea of the U.K. staying in the European Medicines Agency. Just days later, the idea looked to be dead on arrival. Shares in Verona Pharma jumped after it shared a glimpse of data from a small cystic fibrosis trial. And more.—Nick Taylor  

1. Roche promotes Pao to replace departing pRED head Reed

John Reed, M.D., Ph.D., is leaving Roche for personal reasons. William Pao, M.D., Ph.D., has stepped up to fill the head of Roche pharma research and early development (pRED) post vacated by Reed.


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2. Next-gen CAR-T biotech Autolus files for IPO

Autolus has filed for a Nasdaq IPO. The submission comes shortly after Autolus kicked off three phase 1/2 trials of its next-generation CAR-T candidates and brought its private financing haul up to $173 million.

3. Prime Minister Theresa May calls for U.K. to stay in EMA after Brexit

Britain's prime minister has called for the U.K. to remain part of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) after Brexit. The proposal jibes with the wishes of the biopharma industry, but it remains to be seen whether the European Union is receptive to the idea.

4. Cancer vaccine startup Oxford Vacmedix taps Asian syndicate for series A cash

A syndicate of South Korean and Chinese investors has powered Oxford Vacmedix (OVM) to a series A round. OVM will use the $12.5 million (£9 million) investment to take vaccines against cervical cancer and other solid tumors into the clinic.

5. Verona jumps as midphase cystic fibrosis data dial up hopes

Shares in little Verona Pharma have jumped 20% on the back of data from a phase 2a cystic fibrosis trial. The limited look at data from a small, short trial contains tidbits of encouragement for Verona but ultimately paints an inconclusive picture of the prospects of PDE3/PDE4 inhibitor RPL554.

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