DUBLIN – Sofinnova Partners closed out its flagship Capital X fund at €472 million (US$550 million), providing further evidence that private equity investing in European biotechnology and medical technology remains in rude health. It represents, managing partner Graziano Seghezzi told BioWorld, one of the most successful fundraising campaigns in its 30-year history. “We went out and raised this fund in six months.”
LONDON – Valneva SA’s COVID-19 vaccine, VLA-2001, prompted a stronger immune response with fewer side effects than Astrazeneca plc’s product, according to headline data from the phase III trial. Shares in Valneva (NASDAQ:VALN) shot up by nearly 40% to close Oct. 18 at $39.21 when the data were announced, partly repairing the damage on Sept. 13 when the U.K. government cancelled a $1.65 billion contract with the French vaccines specialist for 100 million doses.
LONDON – The EMA recommended approval of Apellis Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s C3 complement inhibitor, Aspaveli (pegcetacoplan), to treat paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, but has diverged from the FDA, excluding treatment-naïve patients adding its use should be restricted to those who have failed to respond to C5 inhibitor drugs.
LONDON – After the hard, solitary slog through months of pandemic, U.K. biotech finally convened in person, buoyed by the contribution the sector has made to dealing with COVID-19, and evidently pleased to be face-to-face once more.
Curevac AG, once a forerunner in COVID-19 vaccine development but later surpassed, said it would terminate its first effort in the field, CVnCoV, withdrawing it from a rolling review at the EMA to focus instead on development of second-generation mRNA vaccine candidates with Glaxosmithkline plc.
Cambridge, U.K.-based Astrazeneca plc has new data from its long-acting COVID-19 antibody combination, AZD-7442, which aims to provide longer protection, potentially for up to a year. Latest data show the intramuscularly injected drug achieved a statistically significant reduction in severe COVID-19 or death compared to placebo in non-hospitalized patients with mild to moderate symptomatic disease.
The U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) joined the JAK inhibitor pile-on Oct. 6 with new measures to reduce the risk of major heart problems and malignancies in people taking Pfizer Inc.’s Xeljanz (tofacitinib).
Exscientia plc has raised $510.4 million in an upsized Nasdaq IPO and private funding round as it pushes forward with its artificial intelligence-based drug discovery mission. The Oxford, U.K.-based company aims to out-license some of its candidates to other companies, while saving others for its own pipeline.
DUBLIN – Iomx Therapeutics AG raised €65 million (US$75.4 million) in a series B round, which will enable it to move its lead immuno-oncology program into the clinic. The funding will also allow it to take a second program into IND-enabling studies and to back-fill its pipeline with additional programs.