EuroBiotech Report—Sanofi hires Reed, loses Larsen; MorphoSys nails IPO, Mereo fails IPO; and Adocia

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. Our news this week revolves around the comings and goings at Sanofi, and the different fortunes of European biotechs trying to leap through the Nasdaq IPO window. Starting at Sanofi, the French Big Pharma hired ex-Roche research leader John Reed, M.D., Ph.D. to replace the retiring Elias Zerhouni, M.D. But saw global diabetes research chief Philip Just Larsen, M.D., Ph.D. jump ship to take up a post at Grünenthal. The IPO news involves MorphoSys and Mereo BioPharma. MorphoSys began the week by pulling off a supersized IPO, raking in 39% more than targeted even before selling out its overallotment. But Mereo found it harder to part investors from their money, forcing it to abandon its IPO plans and finger “challenging” conditions as the cause of the setback. Adocia sold the Chinese rights to two diabetes drugs. And more.Nick Taylor  

1. Sanofi hires ex-Roche executive John Reed to replace retiring Elias Zerhouni as R&D chief

Sanofi is changing its head of global R&D. Elias Zerhouni, M.D., is to retire from the position at the end of June, leaving former Roche research leader John Reed, M.D., Ph.D., to take charge of Sanofi’s pipeline.

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2. Sanofi diabetes research chief takes CSO post at Grünenthal

Sanofi is set to lose its global head of diabetes research and translational medicine to Grünenthal. Philip Just Larsen, M.D., Ph.D., will join the German pain specialist at the start of July, leaving Sanofi looking for a diabetes research chief and CSO for its Frankfurt hub.

3. MorphoSys supersizes IPO, bagging $208M for cancer R&D

MorphoSys has supersized its IPO, pulling in $208 million to develop its anti-CD19 antibody MOR208. The dialed-up IPO haul gives MorphoSys a $500 million-plus war chest to crash the CAR-T party with a drug it thinks provides safer, more durable efficacy without the cost or complexity of cell therapies.

4. Mereo pulls IPO, blaming ‘challenging’ stock market conditions

Mereo BioPharma has withdrawn plans to list its stock on Nasdaq. The Novartis-backed biotech set out to bag $80 million (€66 million) to take its brittle bone disease drug into phase 3, only to struggle to raise the money on its desired terms.

5. Twice rejected by Lilly, Adocia mounts recovery with diabetes drug deal

Adocia has sold the Chinese rights to two diabetes prospects to Tonghua Dongbao Pharmaceuticals for $50 million (€41 million) upfront. The deal sparked a 30% jump in Adocia’s stock price as investors cheered evidence the biotech is gaining momentum 15 months after being dumped by Eli Lilly.

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