EuroBiotech Report—Sanofi inks oncology deals, Basilea data, Black Diamond and Sirion

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with two deals that illustrate the evolution of Sanofi's oncology R&D strategy. Sanofi centered its strategy on Regeneron when it struck a big deal with its longtime partner in 2015 but is now shifting its focus. The 2015 Regeneron deal is dead, replaced by an agreement that gives Sanofi an option on two assets but no discovery-stage relationship. Days before disclosing the news, Sanofi extended its cancer collaboration with BioNTech as part of a deal that saw it invest €80 million ($91 million) in the German mRNA specialist. Over in Basel, Switzerland, Basilea Pharmaceutica posted interim pivotal cancer data, and Versant Ventures' Black Diamond Therapeutics reeled in $85 million. Elsewhere, Sirion Biotech struck a deal to help Denali Therapeutics expand into gene therapies. And more. — Nick Taylor
 
1. Sanofi pays Regeneron $462M to exit immuno-oncology R&D pact

Sanofi is paying Regeneron $462 million (€404 million) to exit the immuno-oncology pact it formed in 2015. The move gives Sanofi the right to opt in to two bispecific programs but otherwise leaves each company free to operate independently. 
 
2. Sanofi invests €80M in BioNTech as cancer mRNA hits clinic

Sanofi is set to invest €80 million ($91 million) in BioNTech and extend its cancer collaboration with the German mRNA specialist. The agreement comes as BioNTech and Sanofi prepare to start clinical development of the first cancer immunotherapy to emerge from their 2015 pact.

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3. Basilea posts interim pivotal data on ArQule-partnered cancer drug

Basilea Pharmaceutica has shared interim data from a registrational trial of ArQule-partnered cancer drug derazantinib. The oral FGFR kinase inhibitor achieved an objective response rate of 21% in the first 29 evaluable intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma patients enrolled in the study.
 
4. Versant’s Black Diamond raises $85M, plots transatlantic move

Versant Ventures’ Black Diamond Therapeutics has raised $85 million (€74 million). The series B, which comes weeks after Black Diamond exited stealth mode, tees the allosteric oncogenic mutation specialist up to move two or three candidates into the clinic.
 
5. Denali taps Sirion to expand into CNS gene therapies

Denali Therapeutics is teaming up with Sirion Biotech to expand into gene therapies. The partners will work to develop adeno-associated virus vectors capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. 
 
And more articles of note>>