Iceni Pharmaceuticals has announced its launch as a new company, to focus on repurposed and reformulated cancer therapies. The company's lead product Cilcane (cilengitide) is being repurposed as a first-in-class treatment for multiple myeloma. The firm says that pre-clinical studies have shown the drug to be effective as a combination therapy when given with proteasome inhibitors such as bortezomib, an approach that may also be applicable to breast and other cancers. Cilengitide was formerly in late-stage clinical trials in glioblastoma at Merck Serono. Iceni has appointed several leading authorities on cilengitide and multiple myeloma to its scientific advisory board.

Horizon Discovery Group has entered into two original equipment manufacture agreements with a global market leading Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) platform company, with the potential for additional agreements to follow. Under the terms of the agreements, Horizon will supply two previously developed HDx Molecular Reference Standards that cover many of the genes most commonly linked with cancer progression and response to treatment.  The Horizon materials will be incorporated into assay kits from the NGS manufacturer for a range of applications including cancer research and diagnostics. Financial details were not disclosed.

Eli Lilly's drug Taltz (ixekizumab), which was recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, is set to generate sales in excess of $1 billion in the US and Europe by 2022 due to its high clinical efficacy and good safety profile, according to an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData. 

The Oxford Department of Chemistry spinout OxStem has raised £16.9 million. OxStem plans to develop small molecule drugs that can activate repair mechanisms that already exist within the body. Building on decades of experience in medicinal chemistry, OxStem will design drugs that can programme resident stem and stem-like cells in situ to treat currently untreatable age-related conditions.

The Lead Discovery Center (LDC), Max Planck Innovation, and Boehringer Ingelheim have joined forces to discover a novel approach for the treatment of schizophrenia. The approach builds on research from professor Moritz Rossner and his team at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine. He will work closely together with the LDC team to identify and optimise novel compounds with strong therapeutic potential and develop it further to the stage of a validated pharmaceutical lead with in vivo efficacy. In this early discovery project Boehringer will take a seat on the project development team and will pay an option fee. In addition, the company will allocate internal resources to the program and support collaborating partners to strengthen the early development work. Once the project has attained proof-of-concept in relevant in vivo models Boehringer can exclusively license the lead at pre-defined terms for subsequent preclinical and clinical development. Any revenue the LDC may receive from commercialisation will be shared with the academic inventors and collaborating institutions.

Rare disease specialists Alizé Pharma II has announced that a subsidiary Jazz Pharmaceuticals has acquired 100 percent of its shares. This all-cash transaction closed in March 2016. The deal is valued at up to €18 million, including an upfront payment of €8 million and potential payments of up to €10 million related to regulatory milestones.

Cell Therapy has granted the Japan license for its innovative cardiac regeneration medicine, Heartcel (immuno-modulatory progenitor [iMP] cells) to Daiichi Sankyo. Daiichi will undertake all development, regulatory and commercial activities for iMP cells in the territory of Japan only, while Cell Therapy retains its worldwide rights outside of Japan as well as global manufacturing responsibilities. Under the terms of the agreement, Cell Therapy receives a £12.5 million upfront licensing fee and additional milestone payments and royalties.