$15.7B biotech fund proposed by mayor of London | CBO: Competition for some brand-name drugs would be delayed by 21st Century Cures | Rheumatoid arthritis biosimilar drugs termed equivalent
 
June 26, 2015
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$15.7B biotech fund proposed by mayor of London
A biotech fund worth $15.7 billion was proposed by London Mayor Boris Johnson to finance drug development projects and encourage the growth of biotech companies in the city. "London is one of the most powerful scientific discovery engines in the world. We hope to harness our role as a global financial center that will bring more lifesaving drugs to market and deliver a huge boost to the economy," Johnson said. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (6/25), Bloomberg (6/25)
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Health Care & Policy
CBO: Competition for some brand-name drugs would be delayed by 21st Century Cures
The proposed 21st Century Cures Act would grant an additional six months' market exclusivity for already-approved drugs subsequently found effective in rare diseases, delaying generic or biosimilar competition for about 15% of the drugs expected to lose market protection from 2016 to 2025, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The provision would likely spur a surge in new rare disease indications. BioCentury (6/23)
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Rheumatoid arthritis biosimilar drugs termed equivalent
Merck and Samsung Bioepis say they have demonstrated in Phase III trials that their biosimilar drugs for rheumatoid arthritis -- SB4 and SB2 -- are equivalent to Amgen's Enbrel and Johnson & Johnson's Remicade, respectively. Specialty Pharmacy Continuum (6/2015)
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FDA to expedite review of Merrimack, Baxalta drug for pancreatic cancer
Merrimack Pharmaceuticals' and Baxalta's irinotecan liposome injection MM-398, in combination with 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin, received priority-review status from the FDA as a treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer patients who have had gemcitabine-based therapy. The decision was based on trial data showing the three-drug regimen improved survival and overall response rate. Healio (free registration)/HemOnc Today (6/25), OncLive (6/25)
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EU approves Daiichi Sankyo's anticoagulant
The European Commission approved Daiichi Sankyo's once-daily anticoagulant Lixiana, or edoxaban, for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation patients and for the treatment and prevention of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. The approval was backed by trial data showing the drug significantly reduced major bleeding risk and had a better safety profile than warfarin. PharmaTimes (U.K.) (6/25)
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FDA allows Aurobindo to market generic versions of Parkinson's, antibacterial drugs
The FDA has given approval to Aurobindo Pharma to market its azithromycin and entacapone treatments in the U.S. The entacapone tablet is the generic equivalent of Orion's Comtan pill for Parkinson's disease, and the injectable azithromycin is the generic version of Pfizer's antibacterial drug Zithromax. Express Pharma (6/22)
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Company & Financial News
Migraine treatment developer targets $200M from stock offering
Alder Biopharmaceuticals filed plans for a common stock offering with the goal of securing $200 million. The company plans to use a portion of the money to support the development and clinical study of its migraine drug ALD403 and Cushing's disease drug ALD1613. American City Business Journals/Seattle (6/25)
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SQZ Biotech gets $5M funding boost
A Series A funding round has pulled in $5 million for SQZ Biotech, a Boston-based startup focused on the discovery of immuno-oncology treatments using cellular engineering. The funding will be used to conduct testing of the firm's CellSqueeze platform in animals and human immune cells. Xconomy (6/24)
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Food & Agriculture
$1B expansion planned for Monsanto's La. manufacturing facility
Monsanto plans to invest more than $1 billion to expand its manufacturing facility in Luling, La., to accommodate the production of the herbicide dicamba. "Over the next decade ... this holds the potential to further diversify our [agriculture] productivity segment and provide a source of growth longer term," said Monsanto President Brett Begemann. Reuters (6/24)
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Industrial & Environmental
IEA: Biofuels provide reason for optimism, despite challenges
While the global biofuels industry faces challenges, increases in ethanol blending rates in Brazil, Argentina and Indonesia provide reason for optimism, the International Energy Agency stated in its World Energy Outlook. In the report, the IEA also projected that renewable energy technology investment will increase by $130 billion from the current level to $400 billion in 2030. The Guardian (Nigeria) (6/24)
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