Galapagos peaks as AbbVie hype builds, Shorts target Bavarian, MorphoSys makes GPCR play

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. Excitement around a long-awaited escalation of AbbVie's ($ABBV) rheumatoid arthritis deal with Galapagos ($GLPG) hit new highs this week in the wake of a 24-week clinical trial update. Galapagos' selective JAK1 inhibitor filgotinib is now well set to convince AbbVie to hand over its $200 million (€182 million) opt-in fee, a situation that drove shares in the Belgian drugmaker to new highs. Bavarian Nordic (CPH:BAVA) spent the first half of the week watching its share price go in the opposite direction after a short seller published a report trashing the chances of its prostate cancer vaccine succeeding in Phase III. Intec Pharma ($NTEC) faced investor issues of its own. The Israeli biotech realized its ambition to list on Nasdaq but fell short of its fundraising goal. The moneymen at Cortendo may be more content after the Swedish-American drugmaker hatched a plan to relocate to Ireland for tax reasons. MorphoSys fed its hunger for stabilized G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) once again by teaming up with G7 Therapeutics. And more. Nick Taylor (email | Twitter)

1. Galapagos hits all-time high as 24-week RA data shorten odds of AbbVie deal

Galapagos has presented a surprise-free update on the trial of its AbbVie-partnered rheumatoid arthritis drug, filgotinib. The data led observers to cut the odds of AbbVie of taking up its $200 million (€182 million) buy-in option--or even making a bid to acquire Galapagos outright--and led to the company's stock hitting an all-time high on Euronext Amsterdam.

2. Shares in Bavarian Nordic dip after short seller posts broadside against its cancer vaccine

The knives are out for Bavarian Nordic. Hedge fund Kerrisdale Capital has orchestrated an attack on the company, the centerpiece of which is a 52-page report that argues the valuation of the Danish drugmaker is based on misplaced faith in the likelihood of its cancer vaccine succeeding in Phase III.

3. MorphoSys hooks up with G7 Therapeutics to feed hunger for stabilized GPCRs

MorphoSys has struck another deal to support its ambitions to create antibodies against G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The latest deal sees MorphoSys hook up with G7 Therapeutics, a Swiss biotech with platforms for the creation of stabilized GPCRs suitable for structure-based drug design.

4. Cortendo outlines plan to up sticks to Ireland to snag tax benefits

After a hectic period in which every biopharma seemed to be seeking to relocate its way to a lower tax rate, the furor over who pays what and where has died down a little in recent months. But the number crunchers are still working away in the background--and in the case of Cortendo they are on the cusp of engineering a move to Ireland.

5. Intec Pharma stumbles to $30M IPO as Parkinson's program fails to excite investors

Intec Pharma has raised $30 million (€28 million) in an IPO on Nasdaq. The haul is down on the most recent target--and represents a discount on its share price in Tel Aviv--but still gives Intec some money to throw at a Phase III trial of its Parkinson's disease candidate.

And more articles of note >>