Big Pharma warns of U.K. skills shortage; Pierre Fabre tests implantable chip; Kitov files for IPO

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. The traditional narrative about British biopharma can be boiled down to a short statement: Great science, poor commercialization. Yet some people within the industry are now concerned that a skills shortage in certain areas could threaten Britain's ability to remain at the forefront of research and development. Across the channel in France, Pierre Fabre did its bit to remain at the cutting edge by testing the use of implantable, data-gathering chips in a schizophrenia drug development program. Our three other top stories this week bring a mixed bag of news for Israeli biotechs. Kitov Pharma set out to raise cash in an IPO on Nasdaq. Silenseed abandoned its attempt to list on the same exchange. And NeuroDerm shared an update from the U.S. FDA that caused its stock to surge and then sink. And more. Nick Taylor (email | Twitter)

1. Big Pharma warns scientific skills shortage could hold Britain back

Throughout the tough times faced by the British biopharma industry, the country could always point to its scientific excellence as a source of pride. Now, with more money swilling around, the sector should be enjoying better days, yet as financial woes have receded another resource shortage has come into view: The United Kingdom appears to be running low on scientists.

2. Pierre Fabre to use implantable biosensor chips in schizophrenia trial

Pierre Fabre has struck a deal to use implantable biosensor chips in its clinical trials. The first step is to assess the feasibility of using the chips in a schizophrenia pilot project, after which Pierre Fabre may expand use of the technology to any study in which it wants to track drug concentrations and other metrics.

3. Kitov Pharma pitches Nasdaq IPO to fund advance of Pfizer drug remix

Kitov Pharma (TLV:KTOV) is looking to a Nasdaq IPO to fund the final steps in development of its osteoarthritis drug. The product, which is already deep into Phase III, is a combination of Pfizer's ($PFE) Celebrex and an antihypertensive drug, a mix Kitov thinks will enable it to avoid the black-box warnings that blight other treatments for osteoarthritis.

4. NeuroDerm stock yo-yos after FDA meeting yields mixed results

NeuroDerm ($NDRM) has received written confirmation from the FDA that it can file for approval of its Parkinson's disease treatment on the strength of data from one clinical trial, freeing it of the need to run a second, 360-person study. But with the FDA also demanding additional GMP documents from NeuroDerm's device supplier, investors were unsure whether the update was good or bad news.

5. Silenseed cans Nasdaq IPO as RNAi-cancer pitch fizzles

Silenseed has formally scrapped its plan to list on Nasdaq. The developer of RNAi-based cancer drugs pitched up on Wall Street more than one year ago with a view to raising $36.4 million (€33.9 million), but has now admitted defeat.

And more articles of note >>