Roche partner Oryzon plots Madrid IPO; Serono commits to Germany; Celyad nabs GSK IO vet

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. The quickfire start to the post-summer IPO season continued this week. Acacia Pharma's mooted £150 million ($230 million) fundraising goal meant London won out again in terms of sheer scale, but there was big news too for one of Europe's less-discussed biotech stock exchanges: Madrid. Roche ($RHHBY)-partnered Oryzon Genomics is set to file to list on the exchange later this year. But, like many of its peers, the Spanish epigenetics specialist already has one eye on Nasdaq. If Oryzon goes ahead with its penciled plans to list on Nasdaq in 2017, it will join Celyad ($CYAD) on the list of European biotechs to take a stepwise approach to a U.S. IPO. Celyad put another piece of its post-IPO strategy in place on Monday when Frédéric Lehmann took up the post of VP of immuno-oncology. Lehmann joined Celyad after 12 years at GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK). One of the dwindling pool of notable European biopharma firms yet to pitch up on Nasdaq, Zealand Pharma (CPH:ZEAL), was also in the news. Shares in the company jumped 20% in Denmark after positive Phase III data on its Sanofi ($SNY)-partnered diabetes asset moved it a step closer to milestones and double-digit royalties. Merck Serono started work on a €65 million expansion of its R&D capabilities in Darmstadt, Germany, an outlay it presented as a reaffirmation of its commitment to the site. And its immuno-oncology partner Pfizer ($PFE) has plans of its own in Germany. The Big Pharma is weighing up the merits of establishing a 50-person site to do basic and translational research in the country. And more. Nick Taylor (email | Twitter)

1. Roche-partnered Oryzon plans Madrid IPO as launchpad to Nasdaq

Oryzon Genomics has joined the wave of European biotechs to file for an IPO on their home continent. But the Roche-partnered epigenetics specialist is doing things differently, first by going public in the biotech backwater of the Madrid stock exchange and then by using this listing as a launchpad for a Nasdaq IPO.

2. Lehmann leaves GSK to head up immuno-oncology at Celyad

Frédéric Lehmann has joined the ranks of R&D executives to swap life at a Big Pharma for a starring role at a biotech. The move sees Lehmann walk away from a 12-year stint at GlaxoSmithKline to take charge of the burgeoning immuno-oncology operation at Celyad.

3. Zealand Pharma gains 20% after PhIII success clears path to diabetes payday

Zealand Pharma has taken a step toward collecting milestones worth up to $160 million (€142 million) and double-digit royalties. The paydays are tied to the success of its diabetes alliance with Sanofi, the prospects of which were buoyed this week with the release of Phase III data.

4. Merck Serono reaffirms commitment to Germany with €65M R&D expansion

Merck Serono is embarking on a €65 million ($73.5 million) R&D expansion at its headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany. The investment will fund the construction of a building to house different units of its drug discovery operation, enabling an all-under-one-roof approach Merck Serono is hoping will improve its fortunes.

5. Pfizer mulls early-stage site to tap into German research infrastructure

Pfizer is considering setting up a research site in Germany, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. The investment would represent a rare foray by a Big Pharma into basic research in Germany, but Pfizer's chief in the country thinks the ability to work with existing academic and medical institutions means the plan has merits.

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