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Erasca restructures; Novartis moves to complete MorphoSys deal

BioPharma Dive is testing out a new format rounding up smaller updates from around the industry. Have thoughts on what could make this type of story better? Drop us a line!

Today, a brief rundown of news from Erasca and the European Medicines Agency, as well as notes on Bristol Myers Squibb, MorphoSys and Galapagos that you may have missed yesterday:

Cancer drug developer Erasca is scrapping three experimental medicines and laying off 18% of its workforce, the company said Friday. The restructuring was announced alongside a licensing deal for two preclinical cancer therapies and a $160 million stock offering. Erasca, formed and led by Jonathan Lim, the founder of a company Roche acquired in 2017, has lost most of its value since raising $300 million in an initial public offering three years ago. — Ben Fidler

The European Medicines Agency‘s safety committee has recommended suspending the market clearance for drugs containing 17-hydroxyprogesterone caproate, or 17-OHPC. These medicines have been used in EU countries to prevent premature birth or pregnancy loss. However, after reviewing study data, the committee concluded 17-OHPC wasn’t effective for this use and is associated with a possible risk of cancer in people exposed to it in the womb. Regulators in the U.S. withdrew Makena, which contains 17-OHPC, from the market last year. — Delilah Alvarado

The Food and Drug Administration expanded the approval of Bristol Myers Squibb’s CAR-T cell therapy Breyanzi, clearing its use for relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma. The approval is based on results from a Phase 2 study and is accelerated, meaning Bristol Myers must confirm Breyanzi’s benefit in further testing. It also comes with a safety warning for several toxicities associated with the personalized cellular treatments. — Ned Pagliarulo

Novartis is moving ahead to complete a $3 billion deal to acquire Morphosys after meeting the conditions of its tender offer. The company secured acceptance from 79.6% of Morphosys’ total share capital, surpassing the minimum 65% threshold. There had been some doubt about the deal’s closure following a report in Stat on new safety concerns for Morphosys’ cancer drug pelabresib. — Ned Pagliarulo

Galapagos has partnered with the Blood Centers of America to explore decentralized manufacturing of CAR-T therapies the Belgian biotechnology company is developing. Galapagos, which is in the midst of a research reinvention, aims to make CAR-T therapies closer to the centers where patients are treated, cutting down on the treatments’ weekslong turnaround time. — Ned Pagliarulo