Billionaires plot Stallergenes merger, Cerenis set for IPO, Big Pharma-backed Opsona eyes IPO

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. An investment vehicle backed by the megarich family that founded Serono has a plan: Merge Stallergenes (EPA:GENP) with Greer to create a transatlantic allergy immunotherapy player that can go toe-to-toe with Circassia (LON:CIR) and Merck ($MRK). Cerenis Therapeutics has big plans of its own. The French biotech filed the paperwork for an IPO to provide the financial fuel it needs to revitalize its cholesterol drug development program, which was rocked last year by a Phase II failure. Opsona Therapeutics is another midphase biotech with an IPO on its mind. The Dublin, Ireland-based biotech with a who's who of big name VC backers and top-tier scientific founders will consider listing when its Phase IIb trial wraps up. Across the Irish Sea in the United Kingdom, the government saw further evidence that its focus on life sciences has yet to translate into an uptick in pharma investment. Genenta Science, an Italian gene therapy startup cofounded by Luigi Naldini, closed a €10 million ($11 million) Series A round. And more. Nick Taylor (email | Twitter)

1. Billionaire's fund pitches immunotherapy merger for Stallergenes

An investment fund backed by the megarich family that founded Serono has proposed merging Stallergenes and Greer. The fund is well placed to make such a deal happen: It has a 77.3% stake in Stallergenes and owns Greer outright.

2. Cerenis files for IPO to resurrect clinical-phase cholesterol drug

Cerenis Therapeutics has filed the paperwork for an IPO in Europe as it looks to bounce back from the failure of a Phase II trial of its HDL-like drug.

3. Opsona edges closer to an IPO decision as PhIIb trial gets underway

Big Pharma-backed Opsona Therapeutics has looked into its future and seen a possible IPO on the horizon. The Dublin, Ireland-based immunology drug developer made the pronouncement as its lead candidate graduated to the second part of an adaptive Phase II trial.

4. Government attention yet to stop slide in U.K. pharma R&D investment

The United Kingdom government has made the life science industry a focal point of its turnaround strategy, but data that have dripped out over the past few months show companies are spending less and less on developing and manufacturing drugs in the state.

5. Italy's Genenta Science raises $11M for gene therapy program at TIGET

Milan-based Genenta Science has raised $11 million for its work on a new gene therapy. According to a brief release, the biotech says that Banca Esperia, the private bank of Mediobanca and Mediolanum, supported the A round.

And more >>