Novartis’ Tafinlar/Mekinist combo for melanoma gets priority review designation; Fosun Pharma backs joint venture’s $190M share issue

→ Last October Novartis $NVS won a breakthrough designation for a combination of Tafinlar and Mekinist for its work involving patients with stage III melanoma with a BRAF V600 mutation following complete resection. Today, the pharma giant reports that the FDA also added a priority review designation to help speed things along. Novartis picked up these drugs from GSK in a major asset swap.

→ AstraZeneca $AZN and Imperial College London are joining forces to research the scientific mechanisms and underlying drivers of respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The focus of the three-year collaboration will be on mechanisms related to inflammation, neuropharmacology, and lung irritancy. The work will be co-led by AstraZeneca senior science director Mark Birrell and ICL professor Teresa Tetley. The pharma giant will fund research roles at Imperial within the respiratory pharmacology group and will deploy AstraZeneca scientists to the site, as well.

→ Shanghai’s Fosun Pharma is infusing $50 million into its joint venture Shanghai Henlius Biotech in a $190 million strategic financing round for R&D and daily operations. In return, the Hong Kong-listed company will acquire about 14.6 million shares, about a quarter of the total number issued. Shanghai Henlius, which got part of its name from its other parent Henlius Biopharma, is a developer of mAb biosimilars. Other investors buying shares include Shenzhen GTJA Investment Group, Joyful Ascent and Green Tomato.

Brittany Meiling and John Carroll contributed to this report.

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Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
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Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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