Grifols bags €100M for Alzheimer's R&D; Ipsen inks $137M cancer deal; Oryzon raises €17M

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. The big news emerging from the European biotech scene this week involved companies that fall into one two clusters: French cancer players and Spanish firms with CNS programs. First, to Spain. Catalan biotech Grifols secured a €100 million ($110 million) loan from the European Investment Bank's €315 billion fund. The money will support a ratcheting up of R&D into Alzheimer's disease and other indications. Fellow Barcelona-based biotech Oryzon Genomics wrapped up a financing event of its own. The Roche ($RHHBY)-partnered company pulled in €16.6 million in a private round ahead of its planned IPO. Over in France, Ipsen struck a $137 million deal to secure the rights to Telesta Therapeutics' bladder cancer drug in Europe and other ex-U.S. markets. And Cellectis cheered investors by reporting success at its CAR-T manufacturing operation. Israel's BioBlast Pharma shared a look at some of the data that persuaded it to wrap up a Phase II trial early and set its sights on a late-stage study. And more. Nick Taylor (email | Twitter)

1. Grifols lands €100M EU loan to bankroll Alzheimer's R&D

Grifols ($GRFS) has become one of the first companies to receive cash under the €315 billion (€344 billion) Juncker Investment Offensive. The €100 million the European Investment Bank is funneling into Grifols will support a ratcheting up of R&D into the use of plasma proteins to treat Alzheimer's and other diseases.

2. Ipsen strikes $137M deal for rights to bladder cancer drug

Ipsen (EPA:IPN) has picked up the rights to Telesta Therapeutics' bladder cancer drug in Europe and other ex-U.S. markets in a deal worth up to $137 million (€124 million). Having acquired the rights for $10 million upfront, Ipsen is now gearing up for talks with regulators about plotting a path to approval for the drug.

3. Oryzon raises €17M ahead of planned IPO

Oryzon Genomics has topped up its bank balance through a private placement months ahead of its anticipated listing on the Madrid Stock Exchange. The €16.6 million ($18.4 million) investment gives Oryzon the cash to keep pushing ahead with its pipeline plans in the months until it goes public.

4. Cellectis shares jump after off-the-shelf CAR-T clears manufacturing hurdle

Cellectis ($CLLS) has completed three production runs of its off-the-shelf CAR-T therapy under GMP conditions. The news sent shares in Cellectis up by 20% in early trading in Paris, emphasizing the key role manufacturing know-how is seen as playing in the upcoming immuno-oncology scrap.

5. BioBlast sets sights on PhIII after efficacy prompts early halt of mid-stage study

BioBlast Pharma ($ORPN) has posted a glimpse at the data that prompted it to wrap up a Phase II trial after enrolling just one-third of the targeted number of patients. And while there is very little data available publicly to support BioBlast's optimism, the company thinks it has a strong enough hand to start discussing a Phase III trial with the FDA.

And more articles of note>>