EuroBiotech Report—Sanofi-Ablynx, COPD data, EMA move, AstraZeneca and Roche

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Sanofi has landed two deals in as many weeks. (CC0 Public Domain)

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with Sanofi, which, having missed out on a series of takeover targets, has now landed two deals in as many weeks. Ablynx is the latest company to be ensnared by the French pharma. AstraZeneca posted data from a phase 3 trial of its triple-combination COPD drug, moving it a step closer to a commercial showdown with GlaxoSmithKline.

Europe’s regulator had less cheery news. The agency is facing the prospect of spending most of next year in a building too small for its needs while it waits for work on its new home in Amsterdam to finish. AstraZeneca teamed up with Syndax for an immuno-oncology combination trial. Roche picked up breakthrough status for its autism candidate balovaptan. And more. - Nick Taylor  

1. Sanofi inks €3.9B Ablynx buyout to pip Novo in M&A fight

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Sanofi has struck a €3.9 billion ($4.8 billion) deal to acquire Ablynx. The French pharma’s €45-a-share cash bid enabled it to leapfrog Novo Nordisk in the race to buy Ablynx and land its second big-ticket takeover of the month.

2. AstraZeneca’s triple-hit COPD inhaler meets goals in phase 3, setting up scrap with GlaxoSmithKline

AstraZeneca’s triple-combination therapy has outperformed Symbicort and other two-drug inhalers in a phase 3 COPD trial. The trial’s success against eight out of nine lung function primary endpoints positions AstraZeneca to start filing for approval in the second half of the year.

3. EMA to lose 50% of its floor space in move to temporary Amsterdam home

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will move into temporary accommodations half the size of its current home when it leaves London in 2019. That precipitous drop in the amount of space available will force the agency to hold meetings off-site, but the agency expects its core operation to be insulated from the disruption.

4. AstraZeneca, Syndax ally to test PD-L1 drug and CSF1R inhibitor in solid tumor patients

AstraZeneca and Syndax have teamed up to test immune checkpoint inhibitor Imfinzi in combination with CSF1R inhibitor SNDX-6352. Syndax is set to put the cocktail through a phase 1b solid tumor trial to equip both companies to sponsor midphase trials to demonstrate its safety and efficacy.

5. Roche bags breakthrough status for autism hope balovaptan

Roche has been awarded breakthrough status for a drug that has shown some signs of activity in autism spectrum disorders, according to reports.

And more articles of note>>