Biopharmaceuticals News week 43 2014



DBV technologies raises funds for desensitizing peanuts allergic patients


Acquisitions /Mergers/Joint-ventures

October 16, 2014 

Biotech, pharma and medtech see strong M&A activity

A report from Mergermarket found that the medtech, biotech and pharma industries had already made 869 merger and acquisition deals in 2014 totaling $354.3 billion– the most since 2001. The report also forecasts that strong M&A activity will likely continue during the fourth quarter.



China, the 2d pharma Market

China is already the second biggest pharmaceutical market in the world and is therefore a country where more and more business will be occurring. In 2013, 135 deals worth $1.6 billion were executed, of these 89% were Chinese-Western alliances.

October 20, 2014

AstraZeneca signs multiple research deals with British university

AstraZeneca signed multiple deals with the University of Cambridge (UK), including a research collaboration centered on neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

Genentech pays $150M upfront to partner on NewLink's immuno-oncology drug

NewLink has been gaining a considerable amount of recent attention in advancing a vaccine that the company believes has potential in stopping the Ebola epidemic. Genentech has now partnered with NewLink Genetics on an early-stage cancer program based on a new class of checkpoint inhibitors. NewLink will receive a $150 million upfront along with $1 billion in potential milestones.

October 22, 2014

DBV Technologies raises €104 million to fight peanut allergy

DBV Technologies, a French epicutaneous immunotherapy company, makes its public offering on the NASDAQ and raises €104 million to develop Viaskin® Peanut, a patch aimed at desensitizing peanut allergic patients.

October 24, 2014

Celgene expands its collaboration with Sutro

Celgene and Sutro Biopharma expand their previous deal in the development of antibody drug candidates against certain novel targets using cell-free biologics development technologies. The deal provides Sutro $95 million upfront and up to $90 million in payments during the initial research period and makes the company eligible to receive more than $1 billion in milestones and royalties on all products arising from the collaboration.


Approval of drugs

October 21, 2014

FDA approves Lilly's NDA combination therapy for type 2 diabetes

The FDA accepts Eli Lilly's NDA for empagliflozin plus immediate-release metformin hydrochloride for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes. The product is issued from the Lilly/Boehringer Ingelheim Diabetes alliance portfolio. Empagliflozin is a sodium glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitor Metformin decreases the production of glucose in the liver and its absorption in the intestine.


Drugs at clinical stage

October 19, 2014 

Dupilumab,  a Combination Therapy within a single entity

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi initiate a Phase 3 clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of dupilumab for the treatment of adults with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (AD). Dupilumab is a fully-human monoclonal-antibody that blocks both Interleukin-4 and Interleukin-13 signalling.

October 20, 2014

New combination extended Patient Free Survival in multiple myeloma

The addition of panobinostat (Novartis) to bortezomib (Millenium) and dexamethasone significantly extended Patient Free Survival (PFS) among patients with relapsed or relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma

October 20, 2014

Pediatric hexavalent combination vaccine for the US Market

The US FDA accepts Merck and Sanofi's BLA for the firms' investigational hexavalent vaccine for review. If approved, it will be the first pediatric combination vaccine in the U.S. designed to protect children from six diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, H. influenza type B and hepatitis B.



October 20, 2014 

World Health Organisation (WHO) declares Nigeria « Ebola free »

Three month after the arrival of the first Ebola patient in the country, WHO declares Nigeria “Ebola free” after a period of 42 days – corresponding to two periods of 21 days of incubation – since the last identified case.

October 21, 2014

eZyscreen: A fast Point of Care for Ebola testing discovered at the French Commissariat de l’Energie Atomique (CEA)

A fast and user-friendly diagnostic test (less than 15 minutes) is being developped at the French Commissariat de l’Energie Atomique (CEA) with the support of Vedalab. The test dubbed “Ebola eZyscreen” will be used, on the field, without any specific material, using a few drops of blood, plasma or urine.


Tekmira expects Ebola drug to be available in December

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals announced that it has started manufacturing limited amounts of its experimental RNAi drug against the Ebola virus and expects the drug to be available by early December. Tekmira received approval last month from U.S. and Canadian regulators to use its TKM-Ebola drug in patients with confirmed or suspected Ebola virus infections. TKM-Ebola works by preventing the virus from replicating.

October 22, 2014

Johnson & Johnson  speeds up Ebola Vaccine development and production

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) today announced that it has made a commitment of up to $200 million to accelerate and significantly expand the production of an Ebola vaccine program in development. The vaccine regimen, combines a Janssen preventative vaccine with a vaccine from Bavarian Nordic, a biotechnology company based in Denmark. This combination vaccine regimen has shown promising results in preclinical studies, and is now planned to be tested for safety and immunogenicity in healthy volunteers starting in early January.

…..And signs a new partnership with Bavarian Nordic

Crucell, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, secured the rights to develop and market Bavarian Nordic's experimental multivalent MVA-BN Filovirus vaccine, which targets Ebola Sudan, Ebola Zaire and Marburg virus. The deal provides Bavarian Nordic with $25 million upfront and up to $20 million in milestones plus sales royalties

October 21, 2014

GSK vaccine to fight Ebola

GSK CEO, Andrew Witty said he expects his firm to deliver initial doses of Ebola vaccine this year, but it will come too late for the current epidemic outbreak.

October 23, 2014

A New York City physician, who returned to the US ten days ago after treating Ebola patients in West Africa, has tested positive for the virus. Mali has confirmed its first case of Ebola, becoming the sixth West African country to report a case of the virus.

…but Nina Pham, the nurse who contracted Ebola while treating Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, is being discharged from care.

October 24, 2014

World Health Organisation (WHO) announces the availability of one million doses of anti-Ebola vaccines by the end of 2015. Will this delivery come too late?



October 20, 2014 

Laboratory Corporation launches new HIV test

Laboratory Corporation launches its HIV GenoSure Archive, the first laboratory test that helps physicians optimize antiretroviral (ARV) drug regimens for virally suppressed HIV patients. Previous laboratory testing required higher viral loads than many HIV patients have in their blood stream.

FDA approves Dexcom a smartphone-enabled device for continuous glucose monitor

Dexcom won FDA approval for its next-generation mobile communications device for diabetes monitoring.

October 21, 2014

Bluebird bio starts the first gene therapy in patients with sickle cell disease

Bluebird bio Inc (Massachusetts, US) has treated the first patient in a Phase 1/2 trial designed to establish the safety and efficacy of a gene therapy procedure in patients with sickle cell disease. The trial has started earlier this month in Paris.


Author : Jean-Claude MULLER, Special Advisor, Innovation & International Relationship (I&IR)



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