J&J sets up shop at Karolinska Institutet; Lilly, Zealand scrap R&D pact; Mapi raises $10M

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) added another outpost to its burgeoning network of startup-scouting units this week. The latest location to come under J&J's gaze is Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, at which it is establishing a group to help shepherd academic innovations into commercial development. The J&J-Karolinska Institutet alliance kicked off a busy week for the Nordic region. Copenhagen, Denmark-based Zealand Pharma (CPH:ZEAL) revealed it has scrapped its obesity and diabetes alliance with Eli Lilly ($LLY). And fellow Danish biotech Bavarian Nordic (CPH:BAVA) felt compelled to downplay its interest in being the subject of a Big Pharma buyout bid. Mapi Pharma, fresh from two aborted attempts to list on Nasdaq, raised $10 million (€9 million) to fund clinical trials of its once-a-month Copaxone copy. German institutions claimed four of the top five positions on Thomson Reuters' list of the most influential pharma research centers. Gilead Sciences ($GILD) prevented a German clean sweep by taking second spot behind Goethe University Frankfurt Hospital. And more. Nick Taylor (email | Twitter)

1. J&J sets up innovation hub inside Karolinska Institutet

Johnson & Johnson has established an outpost within Karolinska Institutet. The arrangement sees J&J set an innovation hub at the Swedish medical university, from which it will keep tabs on academic research breakthroughs and support the advance of such ideas into life science startups.

2. Lilly and Zealand scrap diabetes, obesity R&D collaboration

Eli Lilly and Zealand Pharma have scrapped their diabetes and obesity-focused R&D collaboration. The companies teamed up in 2013 to explore using novel peptides to treat Type 2 diabetes and obesity, but 21 months later have decided there is no point pursuing the program.

3. Mapi Pharma closes $10M Series A round after two scuttled IPOs

Mapi Pharma has closed a $10 million (€9 million) Series A round to finance mid-phase trials of its once-a-month version of Teva's blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug, Copaxone. The round follows two aborted attempts to raise cash in a Nasdaq IPO.

4. Bavarian Nordic quashes talk of interest in a Big Pharma buyout

Bavarian Nordic has downplayed its interest in becoming the latest European biotech to be scooped up by a deep-pocketed suitor. The vaccine player has regained some of its luster over the past year through deals with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson, but has no desire to cash in on its moment in the limelight.

5. Germany dominates global league table of most influential pharma research institutions

German institutions have claimed four of the top 5 spots on Thomson Reuters' list of the most influential pharma research centers. A clean sweep of the top four positions was only prevented by Gilead Sciences, which the report ranked second behind Goethe University Frankfurt Hospital.

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