Ex-BMS execs take cancer fund public

EuroBiotech Report

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week in the United Kingdom, where Jim Mellon and Neil Woodford, two of the marquee names of the local life science investment community, reported contrasting fortunes. Mellon saw a cancer R&D fund he is backing take a step toward maturity by securing an AIM listing through a reverse takeover. The early-stage focused fund, SalvaRx, is led by Ian Walters and Robert Kramer, who both held cancer R&D roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) when the company was planning its moves into immuno-oncology. The week went less well for Woodford, who dropped plans to raise more money in the face of a choppy market. U.K. specialty pharma upstart Atlantic Healthcare revealed plans to open an office near Raleigh, NC, the city where the former Salix Pharmaceuticals executives it now lists as backers made their names. Acacia Pharma, another U.K. specialty pharma company, started the fourth and final Phase III trial of its postoperative nausea and vomiting candidate, positioning it to file a NDA in the second half of 2016. Over in France, MaaT Pharma secured €10 million ($11 million) from Seventure Partners and other investors to take its autologous fecal microbiota transplant into Phase I. And more. Nick Taylor (email | Twitter)

1. Ex-Bristol-Myers oncology execs lead cancer R&D investor on to AIM

A cancer R&D investment vehicle led by a pair of former Bristol-Myers Squibb executives has snagged itself an AIM listing through a reverse takeover. The company, which is backed by big name biotech investor Jim Mellon, has put key members of the team that led Bristol-Myers' advance into immuno-oncology in charge of building a portfolio of cancer-focused biotechs.

2. Woodford backs away from plan to raise additional capital

Neil Woodford has pulled the plug on plans to raise additional cash for his £800 million ($1.1 billion) life science-focused investment vehicle. The big name fund manager signaled his intent to search for ways to raise more money in January, only to back away from the plan this week in the face of "the continuing uncertainty prevailing in markets."

3. Atlantic Healthcare plots opening of NC office as influence of ex-Salix team grows

Atlantic Healthcare is planning to roll out the next phase of a strategy designed to establish itself as a transatlantic speciality pharma company. The move will see Atlantic open an office near Raleigh, NC, the life science hub where the former Salix Pharmaceuticals executives now influencing its strategy made their names.

4. Acacia Pharma kicks off final component of PhIII program as NDA target date nears

Acacia Pharma has begun the fourth and final component of the Phase III trial program for Baremsis. And, with work to test Baremsis as a treatment for postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) now underway, Acacia has set its sights on including data from the study in a NDA in the back half of the year.

5. MaaT Pharma lands €10M to take autologous fecal microbiota transplant into PhI

MaaT Pharma has landed €10 million ($11 million) to support the advance of its autologous fecal microbiota transplant into Phase I. The Series A round, which was co-led by Seventure Partners, has set MaaT up to start trials of its product to correct the microbial imbalance that can result from the treatment of diseases including leukaemia and joint infections.

And more articles of note >>