EuroBiotech Report—Roche-Oryzon, Sanofi-Ablynx, Shire-Novimmune, perceived EMA bias, Abzena and U.K. funding


Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with three stories about winning and losing deals with Big Biopharma partners. First, to the negative news. Three years after landing a deal worth more than $500 million with Roche, Oryzon was dumped by its former partner. The setback returns the rights to an early-phase cancer candidate to Oryzon. Ablynx and Novimmune had better news. Belgium’s Ablynx struck a heavily-backloaded €2.4 billion deal with Sanofi. And Switzerland’s Novimmune licensed a hemophilia A candidate to Shire. Abzena landed a deal, too, offloading rights to its prostate-specific membrane antigen antibodies to Telix Pharmaceuticals. The European Ombudsman began investigating whether the industry is influencing EMA drug approval decisions. The United Kingdom committed £86 million to cut the time it takes for drugs and other medical advances to reach patients. And more. —Nick Taylor

1. Roche dumps Oryzon’s epigenetic AML, solid tumor drug

Roche has jettisoned Oryzon’s treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and solid tumors from its pipeline. The decision to dump lysine specific demethylase-1 (LSD1) inhibitor ORY-1001 wiped as much as 30% off Oryzon’s stock price as investors digested the loss of the $500 million-plus deal.


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2. Sanofi offers Ablynx billions of biobucks for nanobody partnership

Belgian biotech Ablynx just signed a potentially lucrative new deal with Sanofi that could be worth an eye-watering €2.4 billion—although just €23 million of that comes upfront.

3. Shire pens bispecific hemophilia R&D deal with Novimmune

As the hemophilia market builds and tensions fray, Shire has signed a new licensing deal targeting bispecific antibodies.

4. EU watchdog asks if drugmakers influence EMA decisions

The European Union is investigating whether presubmission meetings with the EMA enable drug companies to influence marketing authorization approval decisions. Officials at the EMA must now allay concerns that their meetings with sponsors introduce a source of bias into their decision-making.

5. Abzena licenses PSMA antibodies to Telix to create cancer-targeting radioactive drugs

Abzena has licensed its prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) antibodies to Telix Pharmaceuticals. Telix has committed about $65 million (€56 million) in license fees and milestone payments in return for the exclusive right to use the antibodies to guide radioactive payloads to tumors.

6. U.K. commits £86M to get medical advances into NHS faster

The United Kingdom has put together an £86 million ($112 million) package of funding to cut the time it takes for drugs and other medical advances to reach patients. Officials are making the cash available to start implementing Accelerated Access Review (AAR) recommendations the U.K. sees establishing it as the first port of call for drug development in Europe.

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