Elanco grabs $140M in deal with French pharma company; Another company announces a coronavirus vaccine hunt
→ Eli Lilly spinoff Elanco Animal Health — which last August dropped $7.6 billion to snag Bayer‘s animal health business — has inked a $140 million all-cash agreement with French pharmaceutical company Vetoquinol. Under the terms of agreement, Elanco will divest the European Economic Area and UK rights to Bayer’s Drontal and Profender (both dewormers for dogs and cats) product families to Vetoquinol.
→ Codagenix recently landed a $20 million round to help develop a software platform that could theoretically be used to develop a vaccine for any virus, and today it announced it is turning that platform to try and build a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, now known as Covid-19. The announcement puts Codagenix on a growing list of companies searching for a vaccine for the outbreak, and they are far from the most experienced or well-backed player. They have, however, secured a partnership with the Serum Institute of India, which they say can mass-produce the vaccine once created. Finding facilities to scale up a potential vaccine has been a concern of world health officials, but it is also a later issue: A vaccine is unlikely to be cleared for at least a year, by which that time the virus may have petered out.
→ The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), part of the UK government’s commitment to strengthen UK science and business, is bankrolling a study with 5 million volunteers to support research into the prevention, or early intervention, of chronic diseases in individuals before any symptoms present. ISCF is parting with £79 million to support the research.
→ As Abeona Therapeutics resumes late-stage work on its butterfly disease gene therapy, the biotech is touting positive early data for a second program in mucopolysaccharidosis type IIIA and MPS IIIB. Both ABO-102 and ABO-101 reduced the levels of biomarkers such as cerebrospinal fluid and urinary heparan sulfate, the company noted.