Finance, Grants, Deals

Syndicate funds Asceneuron

Country
Switzerland

A venture syndicate led by Novo Holdings A/S, with participation from EQT Life Sciences, has raised $100 million for Asceneuron SA enabling it to advance a new product for Alzheimer’s disease. Based in Lausanne, Switzerland, Asceneuron is developing a small molecule drug, ASN51, that inhibits an enzyme implicated in the aggregation of proteins in the brain. This is thought to have application for both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Destiny Pharma to go private

Country
United Kingdom

Destiny Pharma Plc has decided to exit the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and go private in order to raise money for the Phase 3 development of its lead antibiotic product XF-73 Nasal. The wholly-owned product delivered promising data in a Phase 2 study and has been poised for the next stage pending a licensing partner.

Financing for German biotech

Country
Germany

A syndicate of leading European and US investors has raised €63 million for SciRhom GmbH of Germany which is developing a treatment for autoimmune diseases by modulating an enzyme controlling several major signalling pathways. The Series A financing will enable SciRhom to bring its lead product candidate – a monoclonal antibody – into clinical development before the end of the year. The investment round was co-led by Andera Partners, Kurma Partners, Hadean Ventures, MIG Capital and Wellington Partners. PhiFund Ventures of the US also participated.

Eli Lilly to acquire Morphic

Country
United States

Eli Lilly and Co is to pay $3.2 billion to acquire a US company with a pipeline of preclinical and clinical assets targeting integrin molecules for the treatment of gastrointestinal and other chronic diseases. The company, Morphic Holding Inc, is located near Boston and has a lead product, MORF-057, in Phase 2 for the potential treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Lilly is to pay $57 per share in cash for the company, which represents a premium of about 79% over the company’s closing share price on 5 July. 

Zealand Pharma raises $1 billion in equity offering

Country
Denmark

Zealand Pharma A/S completed an upsized equity offering on 26 June with the placement of 8.35 million shares with investors raising gross proceeds of DKK 7 billion ($1 billion). This will enable it to finance its prospective peptide-based medicines for obesity and metabolic and rare diseases well into the future. The directed share issue and private placement exceeded the initial targeted amount by $100 million.

Zealand Pharma launches equity offering

Country
Denmark

Denmark-based Zealand Pharma A/S has announced an offering of new shares which is expected to raise DKK 6.3 billion ($900 million). This will be done by way of a private placement directed at institutional and professional investors in Denmark and elsewhere. Zealand Pharma is one of a growing number of companies developing new drugs for obesity and fibrosis. Its peptide-based medicines, also intended to treat rare diseases, include two marketed products and three in late-stage development.

Pfizer partners with Flagship in obesity

Country
United States

Pfizer Inc has entered into a partnership with a Cambridge, US, based venture capital group and its network of drug discovery and development companies, to identify proteins that might become the basis of new drugs for obesity. The venture capital group is Flagship Pioneering and the drug discovery activities are located at Pioneering Medicines, an in-house unit of Flagship, and Profound Therapeutics, a Flagship spin-off company. Pfizer has been collaborating with Pioneering Medicines since 2023. 

New microbiome research project

Country
Denmark

A new research project based in Denmark is to examine whether changes in the human microbiome can potentially cause cardiometabolic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Announced on 22 May, the project will be initially financed by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, a philanthropic organisation whose assets are managed by Novo Holdings. Novo Holdings is the controlling shareholder of Novo Nordisk A/S, developer of the obesity drugs liraglutide and semaglutide. 

GSK acquires Elsie Biotechnologies

Country
United Kingdom

GSK Plc has acquired Elsie Biotechnologies of San Diego, US, in order to expand its presence in the field of oligonucleotide drugs. These are small pieces of DNA or RNA that can block the ability of RNA to make proteins. The two companies have been collaborating since July 2023 on the development of potential therapies for chronic hepatitis B and steatotic liver disease.

Seed funding for Tacalyx

Country
Germany

A 2019 spin-out of the Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces has raised additional seed finance from a venture capital syndicate to progress antibody treatments for cancer.  Tacalyx GmbH announced the funding on 11 June which increases its seed finance to more than €14 million. The company is developing antibody therapeutics that target tumour associated carbohydrate antigens. These are glycan structures often found on cancer cells but which don’t usually appear on other tissues.