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Morning brief: Allergan’s migraine results, Biktarvy approved in Europe and more

A rapid run-down of news in pharma, biotech and healthcare

migraineMigraine relief for Allergan ahead of Q1

Allergan kicks off a busy week of Q1 reports from across the sector, unveiling its results later today. The company received a boost late last week with encouraging data from its CGRP migraine candidate ubrogepant. Read more here.

Gilead’s HIV drug Biktarvy recommended in Europe

On Friday Europe’s CHMP recommended a marketing authorisation for Gilead’s new HIV treatment Biktarvy (bictegravir/emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide).  Recently launched in the US, analysts say the drug combination is already gaining market share from GSK’s Triumeq and Tivicay.

biosimilarsWill Hong Kong market transform biotech funding?

Hong Kong is looking to challenge the US Nasdaq exchange and its dominance in biotech financing, and hopes to attract life sciences firms from China and from the US and Europe to float on its stock exchange HKEX.

Biotech investors are excited about new rules which come into force today, allowing ‘pre-revenue’ biotech firms to launch in HKEX for the first time, a move predicted to open up billions in new funding from within the region.

Around 10 companies are already planning flotations including China’s own Innovent Biologics and Shanghai Henlius Biotech, with some switching plans for a Nasdaq IPO in favour of their home market. However it’s not just Chinese firms interested – US-based cancer genomics and diagnostics firm Grail is also said to be considering a Hong Kong fundraising.

However HKEX must first establish a reputation for successful launches. One of the biggest risks is that, because the region doesn’t have the expert investors the US has, allowing IPOs from early-stage biotech raises the chances of creating a bubble, or inexperienced investors getting their hands burnt when a biotech’s lead candidate fails.

HKEX’s chief executive Charles Li has acknowledged these risks, and is appointing experts to sit on a new Biotech Advisory Panel to provide guidance on when companies are ready to float. Read more here on Charles Li’s blog Dawn of a new Era

Reuters Factbox: Who are Hong Kong’s top biotech IPO hopefuls?

Crescendo Biologics raises $70m with new investors

UK biotech company Crescendo has raised $70m (€57m) in a Series B financing, the biggest such fundraiser in Europe so far in 2018.

TakedaThe Cambridge-based firm is developing multi-functional ‘Humabody’ biologics with a focus on novel targeted T-cell engagers. Its lead candidate, CB307, stimulates local activation of tumour-specific T-cells in oncology targets.

The firm will use the new funds to begin clinical trials of its lead candidate and to further expand its pipeline.

It has an existing collaboration with Takeda Pharma worth up to $790m. Its investors are Andera Partners (via Europe’s largest life sciences fund Biodiscovery V) and new backers, China’s Quan, plus existing investors Sofinnova Partners, IP Group, EMBL and Takeda Ventures.

Read the Crescendo Biologics release here

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

30th April 2018

From: Research, Sales, Regulatory, Healthcare



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