Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. Our report this week centers on two significant deals for British biotechs, and two late-phase failures that rocked large and small European biopharmas with varying degrees of ferocity. Scotland’s Exscientia led the way on the dealmaking front, signing Sanofi up to a €250 million ($274 million) deal focused on bispecific small molecules to treat diabetes and other metabolic diseases. Further south, London’s 11-month-old GammaDelta Therapeutics set itself up for a quick exit by granting Takeda an exclusive buyout option. On the failure front, AstraZeneca confirmed the risks of developing anti-interleukin-13 antibodies to treat asthma by missing the primary endpoint in a phase 3 trial. And Teva and Active Biotech hit another low in their long-stuttering attempt to develop laquinimod by posting subpar late-phase data. Oxford Genetics licensed CRISPR technology from ERS Genomics. And more. Nick Taylor
Sanofi has teamed up with Exscientia to discover and develop bispecific small molecules that treat diabetes and its comorbidities. The agreement will see Sanofi hand over up to €250 million ($274 million) in return for small molecules designed to hit two targets involved in glucose control, NASH, weight management and other areas relevant to diabetics.
In what is becoming an increasingly common pattern, Takeda has signed up to a collaboration with a small and very young biotech with an option to buy the company down the road.
A phase 3 trial of AstraZeneca’s tralokinumab in patients with severe, uncontrolled asthma has missed its primary endpoint. The anti-interleukin-13 (IL-13) human monoclonal antibody failed to cut the annual asthma exacerbation rate by more than placebo, forcing AstraZeneca to hitch its hopes for the drug to the planned analysis of a subpopulation of patients.
A phase 3 trial of Teva and Active Biotech’s laquinimod in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) missed its primary endpoint. The data represent another setback to the aryl hydrocarbon receptor activator, which has seen its reputation as a $4 billion (€3.6 billion) a year heir to Copaxone wiped out by a series of failures.
Oxford Genetics has licensed CRISPR gene editing technology from ERS Genomics. The agreement gives the British synthetic biology service provider the right to use CRISPR technology to improve gene therapy viral vectors and develop cell lines.