Novartis pins weak Jetrea sales on PhIII, KDEV CEO leaves after 3 months, Cantargia plans IPO

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. The decline of ThromboGenics (EBR:THR) continues. Having seen its stock price peak at €45 two years ago, the Belgian biotech has experienced a series of share slides, the latest of which was triggered by its partner Novartis ($NVS). The Swiss Big Pharma doubts Jetrea will ever live up to expectations, in part because Phase III data were relatively weak. Karolinska Development (STO:KDEV) also spent 2014 watching its share price go in the opposite direction to the rest of the buoyant biotech sector. Bruno Lucidi took over as CEO in October to reverse KDEV's fortunes, but has now left the company after disagreeing with the board. Sweden's Cantargia filed for a small, local IPO to finance the advancement of its antibody-based cancer therapy into the clinic. Basilea Pharmaceutica (SIX:BSLN) began dreaming of blockbuster sales after a FDA advisory panel backed its Astellas Pharma-partnered antifungal treatment. AnaMar put severe inflammation and fibrosis at the top of its development priorities after looking for positives in a failed Phase IIa trial. And more. Nick Taylor (email | Twitter)

1. Novartis points to PhIII data to explain weak Jetrea sales

Novartis ($NVS) has admitted that sales of the vitreomacular adhesion (VMA) drug it licensed from ThromboGenics (EBR:THR) have failed to live up to expectations. And while various theories have been put forward to explain the drug's relative lack of commercial success, Novartis thinks part of the issue dates back to clinical trials.

2. Karolinska Development CEO leaves 3 months after taking the job

In October, Karolinska Development's (STO:KDEV) board of directors was convinced Bruno Lucidi was the right person to lead the company's turnaround strategy. Now, Lucidi is out of the door, having disagreed with the board over the implementation of the plan.

3. Basilea eyes blockbuster sales after antifungal gets FDA panel OK

Basilea Pharmaceutica's (SIX:BSLN) long struggle to generate significant income from the U.S. may be nearing its end. After years of setbacks for the antibiotic ceftobiprole, antifungal isavuconazole is now on the cusp of winning FDA approval. And Basilea thinks it and partner Astellas Pharma have a potential blockbuster on their hands.

4. AnaMar rethinks pipeline after analyzing ashes of failed trial

AnaMar has rejigged its pipeline priorities after digging through the data from its failed Phase IIa trial. The trial missed its primary endpoint of reducing pain in people with mild to moderate osteoarthritis pain, but a post hoc subgroup analysis has persuaded AnaMar it was trialling the right drug in the wrong indication.

5. Cantargia hits go on Swedish IPO

Cantargia is moving ahead with plans to list on Nasdaq First North in Stockholm, Sweden. The IPO is intended to give Cantargia the cash to push ahead with development of its lead candidate, an antibody-based cancer therapy that is on the cusp of entering the clinic.

And more >>