EuroBiotech Report—Sanofi-Alnylam, Teva-Heptares, MorphoSys, Auris and Escalier

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. This week saw two of the faltering giants of European biopharma decide they can do without drugs from biotech partners. First, to Sanofi, which turned down the chance to take partial or total control of a primary hyperoxaluria type 1 drug in development at Alnylam. A different set of considerations led Teva to reach a similar conclusion about its migraine R&D collaboration with Sosei’s Heptares, which has fallen foul of new CEO Kåre Schultz’s R&D rejig. MorphoSys raised the prospect of a quickie approval of MOR208 after posting midphase cancer data. Auris Medical’s tinnitus candidate Keyzilen failed another phase 3 trial. Escalier Biosciences rounded up $19 million to take a topical RORγt drug into human testing. And more.—Nick Taylor  

1. Sanofi walks away from Alnylam rare disease drug

Sanofi has turned down the chance to opt in to Alnylam’s primary hyperoxaluria type 1 (PH1) drug lumasiran. The French pharma’s decision gives Alnylam control of a phase 3-ready rare disease drug with an FDA breakthrough therapy designation.

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2. Teva scraps Heptares migraine pact as lead drug nears clinic

Teva has pulled out of a migraine R&D pact with Sosei’s Heptares. The Israeli pharma, which paid $10 million (€8 million) and committed to up to $400 million in milestones in 2015 to collaborate with Heptares on CGRP antagonists, has bailed before the first program hit the clinic.

3. MorphoSys eyes MOR208 approval after midphase DLBCL data impress

MorphoSys is hoping to hustle MOR208 through an early, speedy regulatory filing after posting an upbeat look at phase 2 data. Median progression-free survival (PFS) is still ticking up in the trial of the CD19 monoclonal antibody, adding weight to MorphoSys’ claims MOR208 can hold its own against CAR-T therapies.

4. Auris’ tinnitus drug fails in phase 3 again

Auris Medical’s tinnitus candidate Keyzilen has missed the primary endpoint in a phase 3 trial for the second time. The result wiped 37% off Auris’ already-depressed stock as its slim chance of salvaging the program faded.

5. Netherlands biotech Escalier gets $19M for pivotal dermatology tests

European VC firm Forbion, New Science Ventures and BioGeneration Ventures have helped bump up a $19 million series B round for Escalier Biosciences and its dermatologic and autoimmune targets.

And more articles of note>>