News

J&J adds an $817M cancer drug pact with ambitious Aduro

A banner year for Berkeley, CA-based Aduro just got better. The biotech has inked its second licensing pact of the year with Johnson & Johnson, which kicked in a $30 million upfront and boosted its total milestone package to the $1 billion-plus category.

AstraZeneca deepens its Cambridge ties with hopes for Alzheimer's and cancer

AstraZeneca, two years away from a big relocation to Cambridge, U.K., is broadening its relationship with the local university, signing a slew of new agreements that will bolster its R&D efforts in neuroscience and oncology.

AbbVie cuts and runs from $55B Shire deal, signaling retreat from tax inversions

After first vowing to see the merger through despite new tax rules designed to make a merger much more difficult, AbbVie's board publicly hesitated yesterday and then early this morning recommended against going through with the tie-up, essentially killing the deal.

InterMune and Boehringer win tandem FDA nods for 'breakthrough' lung drugs

InterMune and Boehringer Ingelheim have spent the last year or so jockeying for the spotlight with in-development treatments for a rare lung disease, hoping to take pole position upon reaching the market. Now, as the FDA has decided to approve both drugs at once, the two companies will set off from equal starting points in the race for dominance.

Penn-Novartis team 'amazed' at remissions, responses in leukemia CAR-T study

Investigators working on Novartis' personalized CTL019 CAR-T program at the University of Pennsylvania say that 90% of a small group of children suffering from very advanced cases of treatment-resistant acute lymphoblastic leukemia achieved complete remission after being treated in the newly updated trial.

Ex-Merck employee charged in biotech's latest insider trading scheme

This summer, as Merck inched closer and closer to its $3.9 billion buyout of Idenix Pharmaceuticals, one of the company's employees tipped off a friend that a deal was imminent, federal prosecutors say. With that information, the pair made hundreds of thousands of dollars on insider trades, according to the SEC, the latest scandal for an industry increasingly vulnerable to such manipulation.

Orexigen pockets $100M in milestone cash for Contrave

It took a while, but San Diego-based Orexigen has just earned a $70 million milestone from its deal with Takeda on the obesity drug Contrave.

Meet some of the revolutionaries in biotech R&D

It's become a matter of commonly accepted faith in the biopharma biz that it takes more than $1 billion and 10 years to develop a new drug. Industry associations like to cite that factoid as a reason for the big prices we're seeing on new therapies, often while prodding the FDA for faster action. 

Forward Pharma pulls off a $221M IPO with eyes on unseating Biogen

Danish drug developer Forward Pharma came through with one of the year's biggest biotech IPOs, raising $221 million to support its plot to battle Biogen Idec in the blockbuster multiple sclerosis market.

Selecta banks $20M for trial work, inks a pact with Sanofi on diabetes

Selecta Biosciences has banked a $20 million-plus round designed to get its lead treatment into the clinic with an eye to providing some basic proof-of-concept data to show that their vaccine particle technology platform will be useful for a full slate of programs.

DNAtrix pockets $20M to get its cancer-fighting virus into Phase III

DNAtrix, at work on viral treatment that selectively infects brain cancer cells, picked up $20 million in venture cash, funds the company said will help speed its candidate into late-stage study.

Shire shares are hammered as AbbVie looks to renege on $54B buyout

AbbVie to Shire: Maybe that idea about merging regardless of what the Obama administration thinks wasn't so hot after all.

AstraZeneca's $2B cancer contender lines up for EU scrutiny

AstraZeneca is expecting word from European regulators next week on whether they'll recommend approval for its new ovarian cancer treatment, a drug the company hopes can bring in $2 billion a year at its peak.

Astellas dives into gene therapy with a Harvard expert in tow

Japan's Astellas Pharma is the latest big drugmaker allured by the promise of gene therapy, mounting an R&D effort that could lead to a new treatment for an inherited eye disease.

GW Pharma's cannabis-based drug comes up short in ulcerative colitis

GW Pharmaceuticals' in-development treatment for ulcerative colitis missed its primary endpoint in a midstage trial, a setback for the U.K. drugmaker and its pipeline of cannabinoid treatments.

Flailing Wilex finds a lifeline as Roche steps in with an ADC deal

Germany's Wilex has long been on the way out of biotech, but a new collaboration with Roche provides the company with some cash up front and a shot at down-the-line royalties.

Pharma VCs cluster behind a brainchild of UK biotech pioneer Sir Greg Winter

While Atlas Venture was busy putting together a syndicate for Raze in Cambridge, MA, the venture group was also engaged in hatching a $32 million round across the Atlantic in the scientific hotbed of Cambridge, U.K. Atlas partnered with SV Life Sciences and three corporate venture arms--Novartis Venture Fund, GlaxoSmithKline's SR One and Astellas Venture Management--to back Bicycle Therapeutics.

Novartis joins an Atlas syndicate to back cancer drug upstart Raze

Atlas Venture is launching one of its newly built biotechs with a Series A of $24 million, a founding partner on the board, a pair of its entrepreneurs heading the crew and some marquee investors in the syndicate, which includes Novartis. They've begun a voyage of discovery with Raze Therapeutics, part of Atlas's growing fleet of startups, to see how far they can go down a pathway that offers its investigators a shot at throwing a monkey wrench into the metabolic processes cancer uses to thrive.

Eisai wins FDA nod for a drug to treat chemo-caused nausea

Eisai and partner Helsinn secured the FDA's blessing to market Akynzeo, a combination treatment designed to prevent nasuea and vomiting among cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Alnylam trumpets early promise for its Sanofi-partnered RNAi drug

Alnylam's in-development RNAi treatment successfully staved off nerve damage related to a rare disease in an ongoing study, the biotech said, early but promising results as the company heads into Phase III with partner Sanofi in tow.