100% premium: Novartis buys antibiotics specialists Neutec Pharma


London – Another UK biotech company was taken over when Novartis signed a recommended all-cash offer worth Euro435 million for the antibiotics specialists Neutec pharma. The Swiss pharma giant paid more than twice of the Manchester-based company’s market capitalization before the takeover approach. Buying Neutec gives Novartis access to two advanced stage antibody products for serious hospital-acquired infections: Mycograb, for treating systemic fungal infections and Aurograb, for treating methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Daniel Vasella, CEO of Novartis, said the products “promise to dramatically improve treatments in the area and will also enable Novartis to strengthen its biologics pipeline and anti-infective drug portfolio.” Mycograb has been filed in Europe and has been approved for compassionate use, while Aurograb is in phase III. NeuTec has retained 100% ownership of its products. The buyout is a big payday for the founders Ruth Mathews and James Burnie, who still own a 7% stake. During the takeover negotiations the founders secured NeuTecs operations at the current facility in Manchester for at least two years. The sale of the company came just three weeks after AstraZeneca agreed to buy Cambridge Antibody for Euro1.1 billion. Besides the Neutec deal the antibiotics market has seen amany known players disappear. One of the most prominent was the US-based Vicuron, bought by Pfizer for $1.9 billion. New companies have nevertheless emerged as Roche (Basilea), Sanofi-Aventis (Novexel), Sandoz (Nabriva) and Bayer (Aicuris) span out their infectious disease businesses.

Clinical Trial


Belgian antibody-fragment specialist Ablynx NV (Ghent) initiated a Phase II study with its nanobody Alx-0061 in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at the end of March. Safety, pharmacokinetics and -dynamics of the nanobody,...

Politics / Law


Luxembourg/Paris – The European Court of Justice (ECJ)is set to challenge the current GMO cultivation bans on Monsanto’s GM maize Mon810 in France, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Greece. This week, the...

Clinical Trial


Dutch Mucosis BV (Groningen) has begun Phase I testing of its lead product, FluGEM™, an improved influenza vaccine for the elderly. Secondary endpoints will include mucosal and systemic immune responses, as well as correlates of...

Politics / Law


London – For the first time, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has opened its clinical trials register to the public. Certain protocol-related information on trials conducted in the EU are now available under...

Politics / Law


Strasbourg – The strict scientific assessment of food health claims by the EU Food watchdog EFSA is going to be diluted by political intervention. Yesterday, the environment committee of the European Parliament recommended not to...



French specialist for cell-based immunomodulation TxCell (Valbonne) has named Dr. François Meyer as its new CEO. Meyer brings the company more than 25 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology experience. The appointment is an...

Politics / Law


Brussels – After discussions on GMO policy with the EU Environment ministers at the week-end, the European Commission has left no doubt that it intends to adhere to the current central authorisation procedure and safety...

Politics / Law


Luxembourg – Human cell cultures replacing animal toxicity testing, regenerative tissues or human disease cell models cannot be patented if they have been derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), if the European Court...

Politics / Law


Brussels – Europe has made the first step towards accepting inflow of not-EU approved GMOs in order to avoid disruption to EU animal feed supplies. On February 22th, a qualified majority of the Standing Committee of the Food...

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