It’s News Roundup Time! Big Data, RNA Therapies, and More …

Try as we might, we can’t cover every bit of news out there. So relax this afternoon, and have a read of everything else that happened this week. 

Finance

  • The Dutch RNA therapy developer ProQR has raised €45M in a Nasdaq public offering to fund the development of its RNA-based treatments for rare genetic conditions causing blindness. The fundraise follows recent positive results from a phase I/II trial of ProQR’s therapy for the condition Leber’s congenital amaurosis. 
  • The Norwegian company Nordic Nanovector has raised €24M in a private placement to boost the clinical development of its phase II drug betalutin. The drug consists of an antibody combined with a radioactive chemical designed to treat blood cancer with fewer side-effects than chemotherapy.
  • The French company Adocia has raised €15M in a bond issue to fund the development of a treatment for type 1 diabetes that combines the drugs pramlintide and insulin and requires fewer injections than the drugs given separately. 
  • The Israeli biotech Future Meat Technologies has raised a Series A round of €13M to grow meat from animal muscle cells in a process that uses 99% less land than traditional meat production.
  • The UK biotech Enterprise Therapeutics has received a grant of €6.3M from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to complete the phase II development of its first-in-class small molecule drug for cystic fibrosis. 

Clinical trials

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  • An antibiotic combination developed by the Israeli company RedHill Biopharma has shown promise in a phase III trial for the treatment of the inflammatory bowel condition Crohn’s disease. The treatment is designed to prevent an infection of Mycobacterium avium bacteria from disturbing the immune system, which is thought to contribute to inflammatory bowel disease.

Collaborations

  • The Swiss company CRISPR Therapeutics has licensed its CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to the US biotech KSQ Therapeutics to boost the development of cell therapies for cancer. In return, CRISPR Therapeutics gets access to KSQ’s technology to identify new cancer gene targets, which will help the Swiss company to develop its own donor cell therapies for cancer.
  • Big pharma AstraZeneca has begun using data compression and cloud computing technology from the UK firm PetaSuite to analyze two million genomes by 2026, which will help to discover genes linked with disease.
  • The Swiss company ADC Therapeutics will pay the UK cancer biotech Avacta Group an undisclosed sum to combine Avacta’s protein drugs with ADC Therapeutics’ antibody-drug conjugates. The goal is to make cancer treatments that are able to deliver toxic chemicals to difficult targets.

Legal

  • The Dutch company Pharming Group has denied involvement in an alleged theft of corporate data from Australian therapeutics manufacturer CSL by the doctor Joseph Chiao, who recently left CSL to join Pharming as a medical director.

Academic research

  • A group of scientists at the Academic Center for Dentistry Amsterdam, the Netherlands, found that an implant made of ceramic and recombinant cell growth molecules helped rats to heal bone injuries as well as bone grafts, showing potential as a cheap replacement for bone grafts.

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