EuroBiotech Report—UCB beats J&J, Novartis fail, AstraZeneca, NASH deal and Evotec

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Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week with a mixed set of pipeline updates from major European biopharma companies. UCB led the way, putting its bispecific on the map by beating Johnson & Johnson’s Stelara in a phase 3 psoriasis trial. Elsewhere, the news was more downbeat. AstraZeneca dropped a phase 3 cancer program, and Novartis revealed its asthma prospect has failed a pivotal test. Novartis was also in the news for betting $80 million on Pliant Therapeutics' preclinical NASH prospect. Evotec expanded its early stage accelerator model to Israel. And more. — Nick Taylor
1. UCB's bispecific beats J&J's Stelara in psoriasis phase 3 

UCB’s bimekizumab has beaten Johnson & Johnson’s Stelara in a phase 3 psoriasis trial. The bispecific inhibitor of IL-17A and IL-17F outperformed J&J’s blockbuster incumbent against an endpoint that tracked the proportion of patients achieving a 90% reduction in psoriasis symptoms.
2. AstraZeneca dumps phase 3 renal cell carcinoma program

AstraZeneca has scrapped development of savolitinib as a monotherapy treatment for papillary renal cell carcinoma. The phase 3 program was one of five projects removed from AstraZeneca’s pipeline in conjunction with its second-quarter results.
3. Novartis' asthma drug fails in phase 3, raising doubts about Gossamer's prospects

Novartis’ asthma prospect fevipiprant has failed to improve lung function in two phase 3 trials. The negative top-line data deal a big blow to the prospects of a drug analysts tipped to achieve blockbuster sales if it cleared phase 3.
4. Novartis bets $80M on Pliant's preclinical NASH prospect

Novartis has put up an initial $80 million to land the global license to Pliant Therapeutics’ preclinical nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) asset and three additional candidates. The NASH drug, PLN-1474, is a small molecule inhibitor of integrin αVβ1 Pliant thinks can reduce the growth of fibrotic tissue in the liver. 
5. Evotec brings early stage accelerator model to Israel

Evotec has expanded its model for accelerating early-stage academic research to Israel. The creation of the latest outpost of the BRIDGE model sees Evotec team up with Integra Holdings and Yissum to help researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem translate their work.
And more articles of note>>