EuroBiotech Report: U.K. hatches post-Brexit strategy, Pfizer joins R&D scheme, Merck KGaA and KeyBioscience


Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week in the United Kingdom, where the government disclosed more and more of its strategy to build the biopharma industry post-Brexit. The government got the ball rolling by calling for industries to come to it with ideas for how it can intervene to make their lives easier. The removal of regulations is a possibility. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt then went a step further by revealing he has embarked on a mission to speak to the CEOs of nine of the top 10 global pharma companies within the next month. Hunt wants to learn how the U.K. can change to attract more of their R&D spending. Pfizer, a company with a bad rap in the U.K. for its Sandwich cuts, gained a connection to researchers in Cambridge through a matchmaking scheme already used by AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline. On mainland Europe, Merck KGaA continued to build out its cancer pipeline with a deal for Domain Therapeutics’ next-generation adenosine receptor program. And KeyBioscience turned to Enteris BioPharma for help creating an oral formulation of a metabolic peptide. And more.—Nick Taylor

1. U.K. offers deal to drugmakers to boost productivity

The U.K. government wants to strike a deal to boost the productivity of the life science sector. Officials have called on business and academia to team up and pitch proposals for how the increasingly interventionist government can fix the problems they face.


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2. U.K. hatches plan to attract R&D investment, as EMA exit likely

The U.K. is holding a series of meetings with the CEOs of top-10 pharma companies in a bid to understand how it can attract R&D investments. Ministers have hatched a plan to use the flux created by Brexit to reshape the U.K. as a more appealing location for R&D.

3. Pfizer joins Big Pharma peers in R&D matchmaking program

Pfizer has become the latest Big Pharma company to join a consortium that matches drugmakers to researchers in Cambridge, U.K. The consortium pairs Pfizer, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and its other members to academic researchers to facilitate the transfer of assets and funds between the two groups.

4. Merck KGaA pens pact, eyes checkpoint inhibitor combos

Merck KGaA has struck a deal for assets it can pair with immune checkpoint inhibitors. The deal sees Merck commit to €240 million ($258 million) in milestones to bag Domain Therapeutics’ next-generation adenosine receptor program.

5. KeyBioscience taps Enteris to create oral metabolic peptide

KeyBioscience has turned to Enteris BioPharma for help creating oral formulations of a metabolic peptide. The company, a subsidiary of Nordic Bioscience, sees the peptide as a potential treatment for conditions including diabetes and obesity.

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