Galapagos advances AbbVie-partnered CF drug; UCL forms £50M fund; Vasopharm bags €20M

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. Having secured Gilead ($GILD) as a partner for its JAK1 inhibitor program, Galapagos spent the week outlining the progress of the area of its business AbbVie is still involved with: cystic fibrosis. The first of two correctors destined for use in Galapagos' triple-hit therapy is now in the clinic. And, with as many as four more assets due to enter Phase I before 2016 is over, Galapagos thinks it has the credentials to call the franchise a full-sized portfolio. University College London (UCL) has ambitions to build a portfolio of a different kind. The leading academic institution, which has a track record of spawning biotechs, teamed up with the European Investment Fund, Imperial Innovations and Albion Ventures to create a £50 million ($71 million) VC fund. ArGEN-X (EBR:ARGX) and vasopharm found themselves across the table from investors. Major U.S. money manager Federated Investors took an 8.6% stake in arGEN-X, which left the biotech with €16 million to plow into its pipeline. And vasopharm tapped its backers for the €20 million it needs to move its treatment for traumatic brain injury into Phase III. Actelion (VTX:ATLN) CEO Jean-Paul Clozel dismissed the possibility of buying Basilea Pharmaceutica (SWX:BSLN). And more. Nick Taylor (email | Twitter)

1. Galapagos moves AbbVie-partnered drug into PhI as multipronged attack on CF takes shape

Galapagos ($GLPG) has kicked off a Phase I trial of its AbbVie ($ABBV)-partnered cystic fibrosis (CF) drug, GLPG2222. The start of the trial marks another milestone in the rolling advance of Galapagos' multipronged attack on CF, which is set to be bolstered later this year by the emergence of more next-generation correctors.

2. UCL sets up £50M VC fund to support academic spinouts

University College London (UCL) is getting into the venture capital game. The university, which has spawned a host of biotechs, has rounded up £50 million ($71 million) from the European Investment Fund (EIF) and Imperial Innovations (AIM:IVO) to enable it to financially support spin out companies.

3. Vasopharm taps investors for €20M to fund PhIII trial of brain injury treatment

Vasopharm has emerged from talks with investors armed with €20 million ($22 million) to hustle its treatment for traumatic brain injury through Phase III. The funding gives vasopharm renewed momentum after a period in which its lead candidate was stuck between trials for several years.

4. Actelion CEO dismisses talk of Basilea buyout bid

Actelion (VTX:ATLN) CEO Jean-Paul Clozel has dismissed the possibility of making a bid to buy Basilea Pharmaceutica (SWX:BSLN). The comment quashed speculation that Actelion and Basilea could find solutions to their respective challenges by merging.

5. ArGEN-X pulls in €16M to push cancer, autoimmune programs to clinical POC

Federated Investors has bought an 8.6% stake in arGEN-X (EBR:ARGX). The deal sees arGEN-X sell shares worth €16 million ($17.5 million) to the major U.S. asset manager, giving it additional financial firepower at a time when it is closing in on clinical proof-of-concept trials for a clutch of key drugs.

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