J&J sets up biotech incubator; ETheRNA raises €24M for mRNA R&D; Adocia, Lilly clear PhIb

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We start this week in Belgium, where Johnson & Johnson and eTheRNA posted encouraging news for startups. J&J is looking to help biotechs, particularly those working on microbiome research, to get started by setting up an incubator at its campus in Beerse. VC funding is on offer for companies at the incubator. Down the road in Brussels, eTheRNA demonstrated that cash is available for more advanced companies by scooping up €24 million ($27 million) to further its off-the-shelf mRNA immunotherapy. The week brought positive news in France, too, where Adocia's Eli Lilly-partnered insulin came through another Phase Ib. Motif Bio began shopping the ex-U.S. rights to its Phase III antibiotic, iclaprim. Lundbeck kicked off the first stage of a planned 2,000-person Phase III trial program in treatment-resistant schizophrenia. And more. Nick Taylor (email | Twitter)

1. J&J sets up biotech incubator on Janssen campus, commits VC funding

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) is setting up a biotech incubator in Beerse, Belgium, with a particular focus on microbiome research. The incubator, which is reminiscent of the JLABS sites run by J&J in North America, will provide startups with access to laboratory space, R&D support and VC funding.

2. LSP, Boehringer back mRNA immunotherapy player eTheRNA in €24M Series A

ETheRNA has raised €24 million ($26.5 million) in a Series A round led by LSP Life Sciences Partners and PMV. The round, to which Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund contributed, will enable eTheRNA to assess whether its off-the-shelf mRNA immunotherapy has a future in the treatment of melanoma and triple-negative breast cancer.

3. Adocia and Lilly's diabetes drug edges closer to PhIII after besting Humalog in outpatient trial

Adocia (EPA:ADOC) has brought its Eli Lilly ($LLY)-partnered fast-acting insulin BioChaperone Lispro through another early test. Data from the Phase Ib trial, which was the first time repeated doses of the drug have been given in an outpatient setting, add to evidence that BC Lispro can outperform Lilly's Humalog in terms of postmeal blood glucose control.

4. Misbehaving markets prompt Motif Bio to shop ex-U.S. rights to PhIII antibiotic

Motif Bio (LON:MTFB) has tasked The Fulford Group with hustling up deals for the ex-U.S. rights to its Phase III antibiotic, iclaprim. The initiation of the business development drive follows quickly on from the first dosings of patients in a pair of Phase III trials Motif Bio hopes will secure it approvals on both sides of the Atlantic.

5. Lundbeck's big bet on schizophrenia kicks off with 1,000-person PhIII trial

Lundbeck (CPH:LUN) has started the first of several planned Phase III trials of its candidate against treatment-resistant schizophrenia, Lu AF35700. The candidate is a key component of the turnaround strategy initiated by Kåre Schultz, who has shed other pipeline prospects in order to up Lundbeck's bet on Lu AF35700 since taking over as CEO last year.

And more articles of note>>