Roche's blockbuster-hopeful immunotherapy shows promise in skin cancer

Roche, angling for third place among companies in the growing field of immuno-oncology, is touting promising early data for its so-called checkpoint inhibitor in skin cancer, building its case for the wide use of its in-development therapy.

ObsEva taps A-list investors for $60M as pipeline nears late-phase trials

ObsEva has raised $60 million in a Series B round backed by a handful of big-name investors. The fundraising gives ObsEva's finances a boost at a time when programs in its women's reproductive health-focused pipeline are on the cusp of entering late-phase trials.

With Pfizer and Allergan set for a $160B megamerger, what becomes of R&D?

Pfizer and Allergan have confirmed what many long suspected, agreeing to merge in a $160 billion deal that gives the former a much-desired tax break and the latter a predictable final resting place. But the combination Pfizer's penchant for postdeal job cuts and Allergan's well-established aversion to early-stage research paints a cloudy picture of how R&D will get done at what would be the world's new largest drugmaker.

Takeda's 'breakthrough' Velcade heir wins early FDA approval in myeloma

Takeda Pharmaceutical's top cancer prospect won a speedy FDA approval, wading into a crowded market for multiple myeloma treatments with hopes of duplicating the success of Velcade.

Horizon abandons its hostile pursuit of Depomed

Ending a months-long saga of acrimony and legal wrangling, Horizon Pharma is walking away from its hostile effort to acquire Depomed, thwarted by a judge's ruling.

Shkreli steps into the CEO spot at reclamation project KaloBios

Controversial biotech entrepreneur Martin Shkreli is hoping to resurrect the nearly-out-of-business biotech KaloBios, taking over as CEO after leading a group of investors to acquire a controlling stake.

FDA takes a dim view of BioMarin's DMD drug, citing 'contradictory' data

BioMarin, preparing for a make-or-break FDA panel vote next week, got a harsh review from agency staff over its treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, taken to task for "contradictory" efficacy data and "life-threatening" safety risks.

Williams setting up shop at Codiak after Biogen departure

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...

Samsung and Biogen verge on EU approval with an Enbrel biosimilar

Samsung Bioepis is months away from winning European clearance to market a copy of Amgen and Pfizer's blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis treatment Enbrel, securing a positive recommendation from EU regulators.

AstraZeneca, Sanofi swap 210,000 compounds in no-cash deal

AstraZeneca and Sanofi have exchanged 210,000 compounds from their respective libraries in a no-cash, no-strings-attached deal. The agreement gives scientists at both companies free rein to research and develop compounds shared by the other, without having to pay fees or steer clear of certain therapeutic areas.

Axsome pulls off a $51M IPO to bankroll its Phase III pain drug

New York City biotech Axsome Therapeutics raised $51 million in an IPO to support its work on a nonopioid treatment for chronic pain.

Biogen linked to $100M Israeli fund; Sofinnova founds biotech accelerator; Genfit plans IPO

In this week's EuroBiotech Report, Biogen and a key employee in the early years of Genentech are considering contributing cash to a $100 million (€93 million) VC fund. Former CEOs of Pfizer and Celgene are involved, too. And more.

TEDMED 2015: A brief history of CRISPR and what's next

Only a scant few years old, CRISPR gene editing technology already is heavily weighted with potential implications for human disease and health. It's already being used to more easily and precisely create genetically modified plants and animals. And for the first time last year, CRISPR was used to genetically modify a human embryo.

Pfizer and Allergan wend toward a $150B merger, reports say

Pfizer and Allergan are coming down to the wire on a merger that would be the biggest pharma deal ever. The all-stock transaction would be worth up to $150 billion, at a price of $370 to $380 per share, according to media reports, though analysts have estimated a per-share price of up to $400.

Eiger BioPharma eyes the shell of Celladon to back its way onto Wall Street

Privately held Eiger BioPharmaceuticals has signed a deal to merge with failed gene therapy biotech Celladon, looking to make its way onto Wall Street and press forward with a handful of treatments for rare disease.

Viehbacher's $2B biotech fund wagers $600M on an R&D upstart

Gurnet Point Capital, a biotech investment firm run by ex-Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher, launched its first company with a $600 million commitment and a plan to partner up with industry and academia.

Macrocure axes staff as PhIII flops take toll on prospects

Macrocure is hunkering down, laying off two-thirds of its staff and weighing up strategic alternatives as it seeks a way forward for the company. The actions follow a pair of Phase III flops that wiped 90% off Macrocure's share price and left its pipeline in tatters.

Meda dismisses fears links to Valeant will hinder M&A plan

Fallout from the scandal engulfing Valeant has hit Meda, which outlicensed the North American rights to a pair of dermatology drugs to the troubled specialty pharma company in 2011. But while Meda has acknowledged that the royalties it receives from Valeant are set to fall by 50%, management has dismissed the possibility of the decline holding back its M&A strategy.

Pfizer snags U.S. rights to Cellectis' white-hot CAR-T therapy

Pfizer has picked up the U.S. rights to Cellectis' closely watched CAR-T asset UCART19. But while Pfizer and Cellectis are working together directly on other immuno-oncology programs, the transfer of the rights to UCART19 was facilitated by a third party: Servier.

KaloBios is back from the dead after Shkreli swoops in to 'save' its lead drug

KaloBios, circling the drain after a slew of clinical failures, said last week it was finally packing it in, recruiting a liquidation consultant to help it gradually wind down operations. But the company saw its share price rocket up more than 700% on Wednesday evening after controversial entrepreneur Martin Shkreli acquired a controlling a stake with plans to rescue KaloBios' lead asset.