Woodford forms Imperial-heavy board, Prexton exits Serono's shadow, Chiesi bags stem cell nod

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. Neil Woodford revealed the board of his new fund this week and hinted at his strategy in the process. With three-quarters of the board having biotech credentials and the same proportion being intrinsically linked to "golden triangle" commercialization business Imperial Innovations (AIM:IVO), Woodford looks set to go all in on south east England's academic hotspots. The U.K. government is set to further bolster the credentials of the region by setting up an international dementia institute within 5 years and lending its support to a dementia R&D investment fund. Prexton Therapeutics grabbed a slice of the CNS funding that is available today, raising €8.7 million ($9.9 million) to take its Parkinson's disease candidate into the clinic. The biotech was set up by ex-Merck Serono staffers amid the shuttering of the German firm's Geneva R&D center. Chiesi became the first company to win approval for a stem-cell therapy in the West. Ipsen (EPA:IPN) handed over €6 million for the option to buy Canbex Therapeutics once it gets a look at Phase IIa data on a spasticity treatment. And more. Nick Taylor (email | Twitter)

1. Woodford loads board of new fund with 'golden triangle' vets

If anyone had doubts about exactly where Neil Woodford was going to aim the brunt of his new £200 million ($300 million) fund, details of the board that will oversee the venture will have washed away the uncertainty.

2. U.K. readies dementia R&D investment fund

Few could fault the United Kingdom for aiming too low. Having seen its CNS R&D chops whittled away by Big Pharma cuts, the U.K. government has decided the best way out of the mire is to take aim at one of the trickiest fields of all with a multimillion-pound dementia R&D investment fund.

3. Ex-Merck Serono team bags €8.7M for PhI Parkinson's program

Prexton Therapeutics, the first company to emerge from the €30 million ($34 million) biotech-creation program Merck Serono set up amid the shuttering of its Geneva R&D center, has closed a Series A round.

4. Chiesi gains a pioneering marketing OK for stem cell therapy

The European Commission has waved through the continent's first stem cell therapy, providing conditional marketing approval for what is essentially a new lens that can be fashioned out of a patient's own cells and used to restore sight in people whose eyes have been severely damaged.

5. Ipsen picks up option to buy Canbex once PhIIa data rolls in

Ipsen has handed over €6 million ($6.8 million) for the option to buy British biotech Canbex Therapeutics.

And more >>

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