Jim Mellon wants to put his theory that British and European biotechs are undervalued to the test. The famed investor is trying to raise up to £100 million ($150 million) for a new fund dedicated to small biotechs in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe.
Back last summer the U.K.'s Convergence Pharmaceuticals, a spinout from GlaxoSmithKline, was feeling bullish about its prospects after it wrapped up a positive mid-stage study of its lead drug for neuropathic pain. But rather than take the risky step of mounting an IPO--still a tough prospect in the U.K.--Convergence instead opted to sell to Biogen Idec, which is using the acquisition to beef up its pipeline in the field.
The Cell Therapy Catapult is part of a government program created a couple of years ago to pump up the cell therapy industry in the U.K. The group plans to invest more than $85 million to build a large-scale cell manufacturing facility in Stevenage that companies can contract with for early-stage to commercial work.
Heavyweights of the United Kingdom biotech investing scene have backed Genomics, a spinout from the University of Oxford that is developing a genome data analysis platform. Genomics is working with unnamed pharmaceutical companies to apply the platform to drug development.
The U.K. government has set out its vision for how the National Health Service will transform into a tech-savvy, research-enabling organization by 2020. As part of the wide-reaching strategy, NHS England will create "test bed" sites at which bioinformatics approaches and other tools will be tested.
A new Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership has been jointly established by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and the BioIndustry Association.
The debate around use of Merck's Gardasil in the United Kingdom is ratcheting up ahead of a meeting of the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) in October.
The British government has unveiled a major funding boost for its 100,000 Genomes Project, with a further $506 million (£300 million) set to be spent over the next four years. Illumina is responsible for more than half of the cash, with the U.S. sequencing giant due to invest $273 million in England.
The rise of electronic health records was heralded as a step toward the merging of patient care and research, a scenario in which data from the day-to-day of healthcare is gathered to inform treatment and drug development. But a study in the United Kingdom suggests that while technology can now facilitate this vision, the path is blocked by another barrier: red tape.
Pfizer has a reputation for being a company that will cut jobs deeply once a merger is done, a rap that raised a lot of fears during its run at AstraZeneca. But the U.S. drugmaker can now point to about 100 jobs in Ireland that it is sparing as business has improved.