EuroBiotech: More Articles of Note

> Shares in Immunicum (STO:IMMU) rose by more than 30% after it posted data from the follow-up stage of its Phase I/II trial in patients with metastatic renal cell cancer. Of the 11 evaluable clinical trial participants, 7 are still alive. The group as a whole has a median overall survival of 26.5 months, a figure that compares favorably to the drugmaker's claimed historical expectation of 15.2 months. Gothenburg, Sweden-based Immunicum saw the biggest improvement in the 6 patients it classed as having poor prognoses. The median survival in this group is 25.5 months, compared to 9 months for Immunicum's historic data. A Phase II trial is underway and Immunicum has hired Linda Barkemo from CRO Clintec to lead its clinical operations. Release I More

AstraZeneca ($AZN) paid Heptares Therapeutics $10 million (€9 million) upfront for the rights to its small molecule immuno-oncology candidate, HTL-1071. The agreement, which includes more than $500 million in milestones, gives AstraZeneca global rights to the the adenosine A2A receptor antagonist. Welwyn Garden City, U.K.-based Heptares will also work with its Big Pharma partner on the discovery of more A2A receptor-blocking compounds. Release I FierceBiotech

Ablynx (EBR:ABLX) started a Phase II trial of its AbbVie ($ABBV)-partnered treatment for severe, active systemic lupus erythematosus. Ghent, Belgium-based Ablynx has now dosed the first patient in the trial, setting it up to deliver data in 2018. AbbVie picked up rights to the drug, ALX-0061, in an $840 million (€767 million) deal two years ago. If the Ablynx-run Phase II trial hits pre-defined criteria, AbbVie can in-license ALX-0061 and assume responsibility for further development. Release (PDF)

Synthon struck a deal with Pfizer ($PFE) to bring its generic version of Teva's ($TEVA) Copaxone to market in the U.S.. Nijmegen, the Netherlands-based Synthon has retained responsibility for clinical development and manufacture of the product, with Pfizer agreeing to handle commercialization of the treatment for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. Synthon submitted Abbreviated New Drug Applications for different forms of the drug in 2011 and 2014. Release

CureVac added a third program to its collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The program will apply the RNActive technology platform owned by CureVac to the development of a vaccine to protect against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). CureVac and the Gates Foundation are already working on vaccines against HIV and rotavirus. The Gates Foundation hooked up with the German messenger RNA specialist earlier this year when it contributed $52 million (€48 million) to a financing round. Release

> The Cell Therapy Catapult enlisted the support of Cellular Therapeutics Limited (CTL) to speed up its clinical development program. Having entered into the two-to-three year agreement, CTL will manufacture materials for Phase I and II trials of an engineered T cell treatment designed to hunt down WT1-expressing cancer cells. Release