News

The U.K. is open for biotech business, and Merck is buying in

The U.K. is striving to brand itself as a hotbed for biotech R&D, promising new funds for startups, pledging to speed up its approval process and courting some major players to deepen their roots in the country.

Sanofi sticks to Viehbacher's R&D script as it rolls out a $38B pipeline vision

Investors shouldn't expect any major change in the R&D game plan set up by the recently departed CEO Chris Viehbacher. Sanofi says it will stay committed to Viehbacher's "open innovation" strategy, relying heavily on partners like Regeneron to produce next-gen drugs needed to keep up its revenue.

U.K. heavyweight Woodford gambles $25M on controversial brain cancer vaccine

U.K. biotech investment heavyweight Neil Woodford has invested $25 million in the U.S. biotech Northwest Biotherapeutics, gambling that its controversial Phase III study on a new therapeutic vaccine for brain cancer comes up a winner.

Success or failure, feds want trial results posted online

Federal regulators are proposing a rule that would require makers of drugs and medical devices to publicize the results of thousands of clinical trials, regardless of whether they succeed, part of a global move toward transparency in R&D.

Sanofi's shortlist of CEO candidates so far has a distinct French accent

Sanofi is putting together a short list of candidates to see who will take Chris Viehbacher's place as the next CEO, and not surprisingly there's a distinct French accent to the names being bounced around just now.

Shire orders 500-plus staffers to move to Boston-area biotech 'Mecca'

Shire is following the biopharma trend of ditching far-flung outposts in favor of a centralized hub, shifting workers from its former U.S. headquarters in Pennsylvania to its Boston-area home base in a move the company believes will better align its sprawling business.

Is the CF Foundation's $3.3B royalty windfall good or bad for patients?

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation announced today that it had cashed in its royalty stream from Vertex Pharmaceuticals' breakthrough CF drugs it backed for a $3.3 billion windfall. But where the foundation trumpeted the blockbuster deal with Royalty Pharma as a prelude to more investments into next-gen drugs, the New York Times' Andrew Pollack had no trouble finding a critic eager to lambaste the foundation for the ultimate sin: putting profits ahead of patients.

Bellicum plots a $115M IPO to cut in on the CAR-T race

Houston biotech Bellicum Pharmaceuticals is angling to raise $115 million in an IPO, funds that would help it accelerate its work in the high-profile field of cancer immunotherapy.

UPDATED: Go-go execs at Gilead nab an FDA priority review voucher for $125M

The market price of a priority review voucher at the FDA just doubled. Canada's Knight Therapeutics has auctioned off its voucher--which can be turned in to the FDA in exchange for a regulatory shortcut on a drug decision--for $125 million to Gilead, one of the most aggressive developers in the industry.

Bind shares dented after heralding cancer drug data from a mixed PhII

Bind Therapeutics believes its lead nanoparticle treatment can make a difference for a subgroup of lung cancer patients, pointing to some positive results from an otherwise mixed mid-stage trial as it prepares for further study.

UPDATED: Agios shares jump on another round of 'exciting' early data for cancer drug

Following up on positive Phase I data for its lead therapy, Agios has come through with its first snapshot of promising early results on its second cancer drug, gaining some fresh proof-of-concept data on acute myeloid leukemia to help guide an expanding clinical program.

Clovis taps GlaxoSmithKline to team up on lung cancer

Clovis Oncology has signed a deal to test whether its lead drug can make a difference in lung cancer when paired with GlaxoSmithKline's melanoma treatment Mekinist.

Average cost of drug R&D? Try $2.9B on for size

The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development created the industry standard on R&D budgets when it pegged average R&D costs at close to $1 billion for each new drug. Today, Tufts researchers updated their figures and boosted the total to $2.9 billion.

Sanofi and Regeneron's alirocumab tops Zetia, fueling PCSK9's blockbuster bluster

Sanofi and Regeneron's alirocumab resoundingly beat out Merck's Zetia in helping statin-intolerant patients lower their bad cholesterol in a study, data that bolster the case for a new class of highly anticipated cardio drugs.

AstraZeneca toasts to independent living with big plans for its Pfizer-free future

Rounding out year two of CEO Pascal Soriot's turnaround mission at AstraZeneca, the U.K. drugmaker believes it has the pipeline assets to fuel double-digit submissions and approvals by 2017, reaffirming its promise to pump up sales by 75% as former suitor Pfizer creeps back into the frame.

Novartis joins Atlas in launching a CRISPR Cas biotech with a $15M bankroll

Dubbed Intellia Therapeutics, the new company has come up with a $15 million bankroll in a Series A provided by the venture group and the Big Pharma outfit, which is intrigued by the potential this gene editing technology could play in two of the hottest fields in oncology.

FDA orders CytRx to halt patient enrollment after death of a cancer patient

CytRx has run into an unexpected roadblock with its cancer drug conjugate aldoxorubicin, slamming the brakes on new patient recruitment in all their clinical trials after the FDA dropped a partial clinical hold on the program. According to the biotech the hold was forced by the death of a patient who was given the drug through a compassionate use program.

Novartis revs up a promising pharmacoeconomic case for heart failure drug LCZ696

Novartis execs have already expressed just how delighted they are in the Phase III efficacy data that's been emerging about the heart failure drug LCZ696. This afternoon, their enthusiasm in the would-be "multiblockbuster" was supported by the addition of some promising pharmacoeconomic data--particularly in cutting the need for acute care.

Novartis adds to its case for secukinumab for ankylosing spondylitis

Novartis continued to build its case for secukinumab (AIN457), an IL-17A inhibitor in development for a range of inflammatory conditions.

Juno takes its hot CAR-T cancer tech to Wall Street in $150M IPO

In what will likely be the most closely watched IPO in biotech, Juno Therapeutics has rolled out a $150 million offering that is likely to make a big splash on the market.