Novo Nordisk backs out of a diabetes deal with Zosano

Novo Nordisk has terminated a collaboration deal with Zosano Pharma, walking away from an agreement that would have paired its late-stage diabetes drug with the latter company's microneedle patch technology.

23andMe raises $79M as it ramps up R&D work

23andMe has filed documents with the SEC stating that it has raised $79 million of a $150 million round. The fundraising comes soon after the company revealed plans to dive into the drug development world, recruiting Genentech's Richard Scheller as its chief scientific officer.

Eli Lilly preps a familiar case for FDA review of a marginal cancer drug

On Thursday, a team from Eli Lilly will take the hot seats in front of an advisory committee meeting of external FDA experts to make a case for necitumumab, another cancer drug which offers only marginal efficacy for advanced patients with a troubling profile for potentially lethal adverse events. And their odds-on chance of succeeding helps explain why this field has become so popular with drug developers.

Versartis gets out from under the FDA with its growth hormone treatment

Versartis has cleared a roadblock in its path to launching a long-acting treatment for growth hormone deficiency, resolving an FDA clinical hold and getting back on track with its Phase III program.

Analyst Schoenebaum offers blockbuster scenario for Axovant's 4-time Alzheimer's loser

Today, Evercore ISI analyst Mark Schoenebaum trumpeted his belief that Axovant, which bought a discarded 5-HT6 inhibitor from GlaxoSmithKline for $5 million and flipped it into a public biotech months later with a market cap now hovering around $1.9 billion, has a 65% chance of success in an upcoming Phase III study. 

Allergan bets $125M on a new approach to dry eye disease

Allergan has scooped up a med tech startup with an innovative treatment for dry eye disease, paying $125 million up front for the rights to a tiny device designed to spur tear production.

HIV investigators at Harvard, J&J see promise in early-stage vaccine

A team of collaborators drawn from Harvard, Johnson & Johnson and other groups published results from a preclinical animal study Thursday afternoon that underscores the potential for developing the world's first HIV vaccine.

UPDATED: Vertex wins a crucial FDA nod for its cystic fibrosis combo, prices at $259,000

Vertex Pharmaceuticals won the FDA's blessing to market a new combination therapy for cystic fibrosis, clearing the way for a drug key to the company's future as it moves away from antiviral treatments.

Kiadis banks $36M in a Euro IPO to fund its stem cell R&D

Dutch drug developer Kiadis Pharma pulled in €32.7 million ($36.3 million) in a European IPO, raising cash to develop a pair of stem cell treatments.

Ex-Pharmacyclics team raises $33.5M for checkpoint drug

Ex-Pharmacyclics CEO Richard Miller is looking for a second act in biotech with his startup Corvus Pharmaceuticals.

Gilead takes a $125M FDA shortcut with its latest HIV combo

Last year, Gilead Sciences paid $125 million for a ticket promising a speedy FDA review. Now the Big Biotech is cashing it in, submitting a combination HIV treatment for approval and lining up for a truncated regulatory process.

A booming Celgene grabs Merck's abandoned campus in New Jersey

Fresh off a landmark $1 billion deal to buy into Juno's immuno-oncology pipeline, fast-growing Celgene has inked another contract to buy up Merck's sprawling old campus in Summit, NJ.

Four years after buyout, Pfizer spins Icagen ion channel platform back out

Four years ago, Pfizer spent $56 million to bag Icagen and add its ion channel R&D platform and pipeline in North Carolina with its pain drug development arm in the U.K. But yesterday the pharma giant spun the platform back out to a small contract research group in Cambridge, MA, called XRPro Sciences, which will now combine its operations into an expanded research services operation that will cater to the biopharma industry.

Nathalie Adda named Enanta CMO

Welcome to this week's Chutes and Ladders, our roundup of hirings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word--or the bad--from your shop to Eric Sagonowsky (email) or...

UPDATED: Biogen beefs up gene therapy ops with $1B-plus AGTC pact

Biogen has taken another big step in building its new gene therapy operations, inking a comprehensive $1 billion-plus partnership--including an upfront of $124 million--with the Florida-based biotech AGTC on a few new programs for rare eye diseases.

Actelion creates €30M vax startup, Immunocore expands Lilly deal, Cell Therapy seeks PhIII ally

In this week's EuroBiotech Report, Actelion bet €30 million ($33 million) on the potential of synthetic carbohydrate vaccines, becoming the majority shareholder in a biotech created to develop assets discovered at the Max Planck Society and giving it exposure to the vaccine field without interfering with its core business. And more.

Pharma Two B mulls IPO after posting PhIIb Parkinson's data

Pharma Two B has stepped up its hunt for financing after its Parkinson's disease combination drug came through a Phase IIb trial. The data have given Pharma Two B the confidence to start talking up a possible IPO or partnership deal as it moves toward gathering the cash needed for a pivotal study.

Immunocore lands immuno-oncology combination trial deal with Lilly

Immunocore has added another string to its collaboration with Eli Lilly. The deal is intended to show whether there is value in combining Immunocore's lead T cell receptor-based therapy with galunisertib and merestinib in patients with metastatic cutaneous and uveal melanomas.

Cell Therapy weighs up partnership options after regenerative medicine aces PhII

Cell Therapy has posted positive data from a Phase II trial of its topical regenerative medicine to repair severe tendon injury. And with mid-stage data in the bag and a sizable potential market awaiting commercialization of the product, the regenerative medicine specialist is now assessing its partnership options.

FDA taps the brakes on Genentech's cobimetinib review

The FDA has opted to delay its review of cobimetinib in order to give regulators more time to consider additional Phase III data provided by Genentech.