EuroBiotech Report—Sanofi cuts, AZ in Korea, uniQure M&A, U.K. and BerGenBio

Map of Europe

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with the evolving R&D strategies of two Big Pharma companies. Sanofi dropped the biggest news, revealing it is axing 466 French and German employees as part of a retreat from cardiovascular research. AstraZeneca, meanwhile, is looking to South Korea for innovation, outlining plans to spend $630 million in the country over the coming years. Elsewhere, reports emerged that uniQure is the latest gene therapy player to attract buyout bids. A report found distrust is stopping the U.K. healthcare system from collaborating effectively with pharma. BerGenBio shared data on bemcentinib in acute myeloid leukemia. And more. — Nick Taylor
1. Sanofi to ax 466 jobs, step up focus on cancer, gene therapy R&D 

Sanofi is to cut 466 jobs in France and Germany as part of the reorganization of its R&D group. The job losses are part of a pivot away from cardiovascular diseases and toward immuno-oncology drugs and gene therapies.
2. AstraZeneca commits $630M to Korean drug R&D push
AstraZeneca is set to spend $630 million (€562 million) on R&D in South Korea over the next five years. The commitment is part of a wider agreement between organizations in Korea and Sweden. 

3. UniQure weighs sale after hemophilia gene therapy turnaround: report

Gene therapy specialist uniQure is considering selling up amid interest from large pharma buyers, according to Bloomberg. The report follows the revitalization of uniQure’s hemophilia B prospect and accompanying triple-digit stock price surge.

4. Distrust is frustrating U.K. NHS-industry cooperation: report

Britain’s National Health Service and pharma industry are failing to collaborate effectively, according to a report involving people on both sides of the divide. The report cites distrust among the barriers that are limiting the number of effective cross-sector collaborations.
5. BerGenBio posts updated data on trial of elderly AML patients

BerGenBio has posted updated data from its phase 2 trial of bemcentinib in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). The study is assessing the effect of the oral AXL inhibitor when given to elderly AML patients in combination with low-intensity chemotherapy.
And more articles of note>>