Israel awaits $250M fund, ThromboGenics spins out oncology asset, MolMed licenses CAR-T

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. This week, a major new source of cash for Israeli biotechs emerged on the horizon. Globes broke the news, reporting that OrbiMed Advisors is in the early stages of preparing a second Israel-focused fund that could transfer $250 million (€235 million) from the pockets of investors into the bank accounts of local life science players. One such company--Intec Pharma (TASE:INTP)--is hoping to bolster its balance in the near future. The Jerusalem, Israel-based biotech said it is in talks with a major pharma company over a possible $150 million deal. For BioInvent (OMXS:BINV) and ThromboGenics' (EBR:THR) cancer drug TB-403, such Big Pharma-support is a distant memory. It is now three years since Roche ($RHHBY) walked away from the asset. And with ThromboGenics aiming its slimmed-down R&D operation at diabetic eye disease, it has decided to spin out the oncology asset to a new biotech: Oncurious. MolMed (BIT:MLM) picked up a CAR-T asset from San Raffaele Scientific Institute, the Italian gene and cell therapy specialist that is also working with Biogen ($BIIB). Pharmalink breezed through a Phase IIb trial of its primary IgA nephropathy treatment, wrapping up up the study at the interim analysis stage on the strength of solid efficacy data. And more. Nick Taylor (email | Twitter)

1. Buzz: OrbiMed mulls $250M Israeli investment fund

OrbiMed Advisors is reportedly laying the groundwork for a second Israeli life science investment fund. And after four years of positive results for its initial government-partnered foray into the country, the big-name biotech VC shop is prepared to try to raise $250 million (€235 million) without state support.

2. ThromboGenics spins out Roche-rejected cancer drug

ThromboGenics is trying to give the TB-403 cancer drug Roche walked away from in 2012 a new lease of life. The arrangement sees ThromboGenics teaming up with life science research institute VIB to create a new biotech focused on shepherding the drug through clinical development.

3. MolMed picks up CAR-T asset from hot Italian research institute

MolMed has become the latest to buy its way into the CAR-T race. The deal sees it pick up assets from an immune-gene therapy CAR-CD44v6 project run by a group at San Raffaele Scientific Institute, the Milan-based research center that struck a deal with Biogen in January.

4. Pharmalink wraps up PhIIb trial early after interim efficacy data impresses

Pharmalink has stopped a Phase IIb trial of its primary IgA nephropathy treatment early after it met its primary endpoint in a planned interim analysis. The success makes Pharmalink a rare example of a private biotech with an unpartnered, Phase III-ready asset, characteristics that inevitably lead to talk of IPOs and deals.

5. Mystery suitor nears $150M deal to access Intec's 'accordion pill'

Intec Pharma has revealed it is nearing a deal that could net it $150 million (€142 million). The negotiations with the as-yet-unnamed major pharma company relate to a project involving Intec's "accordion pill," an oral dosage form designed to deliver drugs that suffer from low solubility or poor colonic absorption.

And more articles of note >>