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Three assets to help Mereo on its way
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Three assets to help Mereo on its way

29.07.2015 - Newly founded Mereo BioPharma has acquired three mid-stage clinical assets from Novartis. In turn, the Swiss pharma concern will hold a stake in the UK company. Other investors are also on board.

London-based Mereo BioPharma Group Ltd was founded in March of this year with the mission to acquire innovative treatments and rapidly develop them and bring them to market. Now, Mereo has acquired a portfolio of three development programmes from Swiss Novartis. In return, Novartis will hold an equity stake in Mereo and will also share in the success of the development of the products through milestone payments and royalties on sales.

The deal involves compounds in areas of unmet medical need including BPS-804, a fully human monoclonal antibody, which is being developed to improve bone density as well as the small molecules BCT-197 for acute exacerbations in COPD and BGS-649 for obese men with hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism to normalise testosterone levels. Each programme has shown promise in proof of concept clinical studies.

At the same time, Mereo has secured US$119m (€107.6m) from UK institutional investors Woodford Investment Management and Invesco Perpetual. Novartis also intends to make a cash investment in Mereo in future financings, the company led by CEO Denise Scots-Knight announced.

Commenting on today’s announcements, Scots-Knight said:  “We believe that by acquiring quality assets from Novartis and securing substantial financing we have put in place the building blocks to create a successful specialty biopharmaceutical company. Through the experience and connections of the team and Board we are delighted to have been able to work with a visionary global leader in Novartis Pharmaceuticals in building a new model to help optimisethe development of pharmaceutical pipelines. We believe the exceptional experience and track record of the Mereo team and Board will enable us to rapidly build a globally competitive business.”


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M&AIreland

28.07.2015 Irish Allergan is bolstering its product pipeline with a takeover of CNS specialist Naurex. At the same time, the company is divesting its global generics business to Teva.

Public marketGermanyFranceBelgiumFinlandDenmarkUK

24.07.2015 Biotech companies across Europe continue to raise cash on the public markets, generating €3bn in total financing proceedings in the first half of 2015. Compared to 2014, this is almost twice as much.

FinanceFrance

23.07.2015 US money keeps flowing into Europe's biotechs. As the race for the peanut allergy market heats up, NASDAQ listed French biotech DBV has announced the successful closing of US$281m (€256m) share offering for its allergy products.

BioplasticsFrance

21.07.2015 French biotech Deinove has launched a R&D programme to produce the versatile chemical intermediate muconic acid by using a designer variant of the Deinococcus bacteria.

BusinessFrance

16.07.2015 Sanofi has announced plans to restructure its business in five standalone global business units starting in January 2016. The goal is to promote growth and help the company launch a catalogue of new drugs over the next five years.

R&DUK

15.07.2015 GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has become the first drugmaker to join the Francis Crick Institute. It is a consortium made up of six scientific and academic institutes to conduct research and drug development in the UK. The new institute is set to become a world-leading centre of biomedical research and innovation.

FundingUK

13.07.2015 UK drug developer ReNeuron has pulled in £68.4m (€96m) for its cell therapy pipeline for stroke and blindness treatments. Biotech guru Neil Woodford increases his fund’s stake in ReNeuron.

BusinessSweden

10.07.2015 Karolinska Development has slashed the reported value of its portfolio by almost half by revising its valuation model for early stage companies and divesting its shares in pain med maker Pharmanest.

M&AIreland

08.07.2015 Horizon Pharma plc. has set its sights on US-American speciality pharma company Depomed Inc. After getting nowhere with the rival’s board, Horizon has now launched a US$3bn hostile bid for the pain and CNS specialist.

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No liability assumed, Date: 29.07.2015