EuroBiotech Report—Roche, Onxeo rocked by phase 3 fails, Erytech dials up ambitions, Boehringer-Gubra and ProQR


Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with two phase 3 failures. Roche got the bad news rolling by revealing its age-related macular degeneration blockbuster-to-be came up short. If, as looks likely, that is the beginning of the end for lampalizumab, it will put a dent in Roche’s plans to weather the incoming biosimilar storm. The consequences for the company behind the other phase 3 fail could be more severe. Onxeo saw its share price fall 50% after it posted subpar data from a trial in hepatocellular carcinoma. Erytech had better news. Detailed data from its phase 2b pancreatic cancer trial affirmed an earlier readout, emboldening the French biotech to consider going after first-line patients in phase 3. Boehringer Ingelheim struck a €250 million ($300 million) obesity deal with Gubra. ProQR spun out its CNS assets. And more.—Nick Taylor  

1. Phase 3 fail puts Roche blockbuster-to-be on the critical list

Roche’s age-related macular degeneration (AMD) blockbuster-to-be has failed a phase 3 trial. The failure of lampalizumab to improve AMD-related geographic atrophy prompted Roche to stop dosing patients until it gets data from a second phase 3 trial.

2. Phase 3 hepatocellular carcinoma fail crushes Onxeo

Onxeo’s Livatag failed to beat the active control in a phase 3 hepatocellular carcinoma trial. The setback wiped about 50% off Onxeo’s share price as investors adjusted to the diminished expectations for the doxorubicin-loaded nanoparticle candidate.

3. Erytech mulls first-line use for pivotal pancreatic cancer trial

Erytech is preparing to move eryaspase into a pivotal trial after full data from a phase 2b affirmed earlier top-line results. The red blood cell-encapsulated L-asparaginase improved overall survival and other outcomes in metastatic pancreatic cancer patients, emboldening Erytech to consider swinging for first-line use in phase 3.

4. Boehringer, Gubra strike backloaded €250M obesity deal

Boehringer Ingelheim has committed up to €250 million ($300 million) to work with Gubra on obesity treatments. The deal gives Boehringer access to Gubra’s expertise in the design, synthesis and preclinical testing of therapeutic peptides.

5. ProQR spins out CNS assets to form RNA rare disease biotech

ProQR has spun out its CNS assets to form Amylon Therapeutics. The offshoot starts life with seed funding and an RNA-based program targeting a rare genetic disease that causes strokes.

And more articles of note>>