The world’s biggest biotech investor conference, hosted by JP Morgan, is now underway in San Francisco, and European companies are putting up a strong showing. Here are those (in chronological order) who made the cut to present at this invite-only event. We’ll update the post as companies present!
While uniQure has hit a number of rough patches recently, the company has a positive outlook now following a strategic review and new leadership. At JP Morgan, the new CEO, Matt Kapusta, stated that uniQure’s “key focus [in 2017] is to rapidly advance our hemophilia B program into late-stage development,” in addition to two clinical proof-of-concept studies for congestive heart failure and Huntington’s disease. Despite that its stocks have lost significant value bringing the market cap down to €140M, it has cash reserves that it expects to carry operations into 2019.
Cellectis also presented at JP Morgan yesterday, following its IND submission for its pioneering allogenic CAR-T candidate, UCART123. While Novartis and Kite are in the lead to bring the first CAR-T therapy to market, their autologous treatments are individualized and limited to a subset of the patient population. Cellectis’s UCART123 can be manufactured on a large scale with cells from a healthy donor, making it scalable and more broadly applicable than its competitors. However, CEO André Choulika believes that “CAR-T is not the miracle cure for cancer.” Cellectis’s programs are instead designed as a T-cell control system to address rising concerns about deaths from CAR-T trials.
BioNTech, famous as the protagonist of Europe’s biggest ever biotech deal, will present on Wednesday morning, San Francisco time. One of our top companies to watch this year, BioNTech employs over 500 people as Europe’s largest private biotech and focuses on mRNA. It hopes to bring its Individualized Vaccines Against Cancer (IVAC) platform to bear with the help of Genentech; it will be competing with the likes of money magnets Moderna and CureVac. If you can’t wait to hear COO Sean Marett speak at JP Morgan, check out our interview with him.
Ablynx, one of Europe’s most successful biotechs, will present on Wednesday afternoon, San Francisco time, in a talk that will be webcast live. CEO Edwin Moses will no doubt discuss its nanobody program in rheumatoid arthritis, which has caught AbbVie’s attention: the pharma is looking for a successor to blockbusting Humira. Ablynx revealed some persuasive results last August, but will they be enough to seal the deal with AbbVie?
CureVac, “the RNA people” from Germany, will present on Wednesday at 2PM PST. This company has attracted a hefty amount of funding over the years — €325M as of last fall. While this cash pile pales in comparison to Moderna‘s whopping €1.75B, CureVac has been leading the clinical race with vaccine candidates for prostate cancer and rabies. The billion-euro biotech has encountered some safety issues, as CEO Ingmar Hoerr discussed at Refresh, the company aims to leverage mRNA to make vaccines faster and cheaper. Stay tuned for updates on their progress!
UPDATE (Original Publication 10/01/2017): No news from the presentations by Ablynx, BioNTech or Cellectis has been announced. CureVac will present new results in the afternoon on Wednesday.
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