J&J rents Halozyme's R&D technology for up to $581M

Johnson & Johnson has signed a deal to use Halozyme Therapeutics' drug delivery platform in its own R&D efforts, agreeing to pay as much as $581 million for the privilege.

Playing a hot hand, Juno Therapeutics ups the ante on a $200M-plus IPO

In biotech, you don't raise money when you need it. You raise cash when you can. And right now, Juno Therapeutics is bundling cash in bulk.

Amgen vet reveals stealth startup Flexus backed by $38M from Kleiner Perkins, Celgene

After shunning public attention for more than a year, cancer immunotherapy startup Flexus Biosciences is ready for the limelight now that it is headed toward the clinic, has banked its first two venture rounds totaling $38 million and boasts impressive management, board and advisory rosters.

Pozen gets another FDA cold shoulder for its cardio drugs

The FDA again rejected Pozen's pair of treatments designed to help patients deal with cardiovascular disease, citing the same third-party manufacturing issues that tanked the last application. Pozen claims the supplier has since rectified those concerns but that the agency has been less than cooperative in the process.

Auspex shares rocket up after Huntington's drug hits the mark in Phase III

Auspex Pharmaceuticals' treatment for a movement disorder tied to Huntington's disease met its main goal in a late-stage study, the company said, clearing the way for a 2015 FDA filing.

Google Ventures splashes into life sciences with its $425M purse

Google Ventures is betting more and more on life sciences startups each year, and the well-funded financier tells The Wall Street Journal that's not going to change in the new year.

Does Gilead's oncology hire signal a new R&D push?

The biopharma industry's headlong rush into cancer drug research has created a fierce competition for top talent in the field, as underscored by Gilead's decision to raid the senior ranks of Genentech for an R&D leader who's being charged with the lead role in oncology. Gilead has recruited Philippe Bishop, who once headed the Avastin program, to take the lead as senior vice president of hematology and oncology therapeutics.

J&J punts a pair of new IBD drugs discovered at Galapagos

A few weeks ago Belgium's Galapagos touted some early-stage data on GLPG1205, a new drug for inflammatory bowel diseases which it discovered under a $1 billion-plus partnership deal inked with J&J back in 2007. But today J&J bowed out of the pact for the entire GPR84 program, an effort that includes GLPG1205 and its backup compound GLPG2196.

Cyclacel's cancer drug isn't working in Phase III, but that won't stop the trial

Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals' in-development leukemia drug has little chance of meeting its primary goal in a late-stage study, independent advisers said. But, because the treatment isn't leading to serious side effects, the company is keeping the trial running.

Novartis wins an FDA nod for a long-acting spin on its rare disease drug

The FDA signed off on a once-a-month version of Novartis' Signifor designed to treat acromegaly, a rare growth hormone disorder that can lead to disfigurement and death.

Billionaire Soon-Shiong dives into immuno-oncology with $20M Sorrento venture

Patrick Soon-Shiong, billionaire physician and biotech entrepreneur, wants in on the hottest field in oncology, forming a joint venture with Sorrento Therapeutics to develop therapies that harness the body's immune system to fight cancer.

Roche and Exelixis head to the FDA with their melanoma combo

Partners Roche and Exelixis are making their case to regulators with a melanoma-treating combination therapy, filing an FDA application for the fast-tracked treatment as they await European clearance.

Broad's David Altshuler tapped as new CSO at Vertex

Today, Vertex announced that David Altshuler, the deputy director and chief academic officer of the legendary Broad Institute, will be the Boston biotech's new CSO, taking the place of the pioneering Peter Mueller.

Sophiris plummets on doubts its prostate drug can clear Phase III

Taking an early look at data from an ongoing study of Sophiris' lead drug, independent advisers say the prostate-shrinking therapy didn't meet its predefined threshold for efficacy, casting a shadow over the biotech's only clinical asset.

Novartis quarterbacks a $34M round for Huntington's startup Annexon

Novartis Venture Fund has stepped in to take the lead on a $34 million venture round for Redwood City, CA-based upstart Annexon Bioscience, which believes it has the inside track on a new treatment for Huntington's disease.

Pfizer continues spending spree with $295M upfront for PhIII growth hormone

Pfizer's business development team is on a spending spree. Today the pharma giant said it is partnering with Miami-based Opko Health on a Phase III long acting growth hormone, paying $295 million upfront and promising up to $275 million more on regulatory milestones.

UPDATED: Onyx vet Tony Coles embarks on a new biotech adventure

A little more than a year ago Tony Coles signed off on a deal to sell Onyx to Amgen for $10.4 billion, and carved off a $58 million-plus slice of that for himself in the process. But rather than sail off into the sunset with a great reputation and a pile of money, he's headed back to work. This morning Coles pulled back the covers on the new biotech he's building, and once again, he's thinking big as he takes the helm.

Ex-Pfizer SVP takes the helm at BioClinica

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 Michael Gibney (email | Twitter)...

Jazz heads to the FDA with its $1B rare disease drug

Jazz Pharmaceuticals has kicked off a rolling FDA submission for defibrotide, a rare disease treatment acquired in its $1 billion buyout of Gentium.

Oncothyreon is going it alone with Array's former breast cancer contender

Moving on from the slow demise of its Merck KGaA-partnered cancer vaccine, Seattle's Oncothyreon has bought out co-developer Array BioPharma, acquiring exclusive rights to the pair's early-stage breast cancer candidate.