EuroBiotech Report: Roche aces phase 3, EU VC bags €66M, Mitoconix raises $20M, GenSight and Merck KGaA-CRT


Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with a boost for Roche. The Swiss Big Pharma reported emicizumab cut the bleed rate in hemophilia A patients by 87%. Safety remains a potential stumbling block for the mooted blockbuster. Our next three stories concern the flow of VC cash. BioGeneration Ventures Fund teed itself up to back biotechs by easing past its €50 million target. Mitoconix Bio, a graduate of Johnson & Johnson’s FutuRx incubator, raised $20 million. And Novartis-backed GenSight Biologics raised €22.5 million to ready its gene therapy for market. Merck KGaA expanded its Hippo pathway-focused cancer R&D alliance with Cancer Research Technology. And more.—Nick Taylor

1. Roche’s emicizumab cuts bleed rate by 87% in hemophilia A

Roche has released a closer look at the data it hopes will propel hemophilia A drug emicizumab to blockbuster status. Emicizumab cut the bleed rate by 87% in patients with inhibitors to factor VIII and aced all the secondary endpoints, leaving lingering concerns about side effects as the main barrier between Roche and big sales. 

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2. European biotech fund hits $74M, looks to build on previous successes

The third BioGeneration Ventures Fund has gone over its €50 million target and hit €66 million ($74 million) as it attracts new investors.

3. Mitoconix Bio hits $20M series A for neurodegenerative R&D

Preclinical startup Mitoconix Bio has secured a $20 million series A round for its research work on neurological disorders, including its lead candidate for Huntington’s disease.

4. Novartis-backed GenSight gets cash for gene therapy launch

GenSight Biologics has raised (PDF) €22.5 million ($25.2 million) to prepare to bring gene therapy GS010 to market in the U.S. and Europe. The financing gives the Novartis-backed biotech enough cash to deliver data from two phase 3 trials next year and gear up for anticipated approvals on both sides of the Atlantic.

5. Merck KGaA steps up Hippo pathway cancer pact with CRT

Merck KGaA has taken its oncology collaboration with Cancer Research Technology (CRT) to the next level. The move sees Merck and CRT kick off a full drug discovery program aimed at the Hippo pathway after spending a year on target validation.

And more articles of note>>