AZ, GSK ink academic hookup, EU blasts past 2014 fundraising haul, Erytech plans U.S. IPO

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. The first 6 months of 2015 were characterized by a steady flow of fundraising news from public biotechs in Europe, with multiple companies heading to the U.S. for cash and Circassia Pharmaceuticals (LSE:CIR) continuing to rake in money in London. Now market analyst Biocom has data to show just how busy a period it was. The data show biotechs traded in Europe raised €3 billion ($3.3 billion) in the first half of the year, more than they gathered in all of 2014. AC Immune and Erytech (EPA:ERYP) could contribute to the back half of 2015 being an equally busy period. Lausanne, Switzerland-based AC Immune stepped up its assessment of the merits of going public after Roche ($RHHBY) advanced their Alzheimer's disease drug into Phase III. And Lyon, France-based Erytech continued its policy of courting U.S. investors by filing the initial paperwork for an IPO on Nasdaq. The rest of our news involves earlier-stage assets. AstraZeneca ($AZN) and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) joined a consortium that gives them direct access to academics at the biotech hub in Cambridge, while Bayer struck a €190 million deal to license a cancer asset from Sprint Bioscience (STO:SPRINT). And more. Nick Taylor (email | Twitter)

1. AstraZeneca, GSK snag a direct line to researchers at Cambridge academic hub

AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline have secured direct connections to researchers at the University of Cambridge and its associated academic institutions. The arrangement is part of a "matchmaking" scheme, in which drugmakers will provide academics with funding for collaborative research and access to their experimental therapies.

2. Europe's public biotechs blast past 2014 fundraising total in just 6 months

Biotechs listed on European stock exchanges have raised more money in the first half of 2015 than in all of last year, according to a report by Biocom. Over the first 6 months of 2015, €3 billion ($3.3 billion) flowed into Europe's 161 listed biotechs, one-quarter more than they added to their coffers in all of 2014.

3. Erytech pushes ahead with plan to file IPO on Nasdaq to fund cancer pipeline

Erytech is poised to become the latest in a long line of European biotechs to head to Wall Street in search of cash. The proposal marks an escalation of the cancer biotech's long-running flirtation with U.S. investors, which has already seen it set up on the OTC market and tap stateside sources for its previous fundraising round.

4. Sprint licenses tumor metabolism program to Bayer in €190M deal

Sprint Bioscience has entered into a cancer research collaboration with Bayer, handing over the rights to an early-stage tumor metabolism program in return for €190 million ($210 million) in upfront and milestone payments.

5. Roche's persistence in Alzheimer's moves AC Immune a step closer to an IPO

Roche's willingness to continue plugging away with Alzheimer's programs despite setbacks has moved AC Immune a step closer to filing for an IPO. The Big Pharma has decided to advance the Alzheimer's treatment it licensed from AC Immune into Phase III, giving its partner the confidence to consider tapping public markets for cash.

And more articles of note >>