ThromboGenics is picking between billion-dollar bids, report says

Just over a month into its search for "strategic options," ThromboGenics has rounded up a bevy of high-dollar offers that could value the company at as much as $1.3 billion, Bloomberg reports, courted by drugmakers who see promise in its underperforming eye drug.

NeoStem strikes deal to acquire California Stem Cell

NeoStem says it will acquire California Stem Cell and a Phase III-ready cancer immunotherapy.

Novartis slams the brakes on once-ambitious RNAi development efforts

Novartis is shuttering a large part of its once-ambitious RNAi research effort in Boston, FierceBiotech has learned. The pharma giant, which has extensive research operations in the Boston area, confirmed the decision, saying that the lingering problems associated with delivering these therapies tied to the small number of relevant targets they could shoot for drove the move.

J&J axes a late-stage Botox rival, chopping project staffers

J&J says that it is discontinuing work on the neurotoxin program for PurTox, its long-acting successor to Botox, even though its Mentor subsidiary has wrapped three late-stage studies on the aesthetic therapy for smoothing out facial wrinkles.

J&J teams with Scripps on a new Big Pharma/biotech spinoff matchmaking effort

Scripps' two big research outfits in California and Florida have allied themselves with the J&J Innovation Center in Menlo Park, CA, in an effort designed to take some of their early-stage breakthroughs and spin off new development programs, looking to kick-start a few biotech startups and Big Pharma match-ups along the way.

Cytos hits the self-destruct button as PhIIb asthma study bombs

After 19 years of fruitless drug development work capped by the failure of a Phase IIb study of its experimental asthma therapy, Cytos Biotechnology is ready to call it quits.

Intercept grabs the spotlight at EASL, builds case for lead drug OCA

Investigators for Intercept Pharmaceuticals spelled out the impact of its lead therapy on rare cases of a liver disease called primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), fleshing out the results of a late-stage study that it will use to seek U.S. and European approvals later in the year.

National Cancer Institute investigating trial outliers to resurrect 'failed' drugs

After sifting through 10 years' worth of clinical trial data, NCI's Cancer Diagnosis Program says the program has identified about 100 "exceptional responders": patients who responded well to drugs that the bulk of the trial population didn't.

Biotech stocks tumble on phantom terror as analysts struggle to explain

The Nasdaq biotech index slumped another 5.6% on Thursday, and it's apparently anyone's guess as to why.

Chimerix CEO Moch steps down after compassionate-use controversy

Welcome to this week's Chutes and Ladders, our roundup of hirings and firings throughout the industry. Please send the good word--or the bad--from your shop to Michael Gibney (email | Twitter)...

AbbVie angles for hep C spotlight as Merck shoulders to the front

While AbbVie is widely expected to be the second entrant to the soon-to-explode market for hepatitis C cocktail drugs after standard-bearer Gilead Sciences, promising data from latecomer Merck have analysts relegating the Illinois company to third place despite some excellent late-stage results.

Impax gives it another go with a once-rejected Parkinson's drug

After a manufacturing problem irked the FDA and scared off partner GlaxoSmithKline, Impax Laboratories is resubmitting its investigational drug for Parkinson's disease, hoping it can clear an agency inspection and finally get its treatment on the market.

VCs gamble $45M on PhII pain drug, new U.S. base for Spinifex

An Australian biotech company with a mid-stage pain drug is using a new $45 million venture round from a group that includes a pair of marquee international investors to put down U.S. roots in Stamford, CT, as it pushes ahead in the clinic. The Series C brings Spinifex Pharmaceuticals' total raise to $70 million, says CEO Tom McCarthy, with enough money committed to fund operations for the next three years.

Bayer backs VC fund, FBI calls Russian VCs thieves, Oryzon and Serendex plan IPOs

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. We lead this week on Bayer Pharma's investment in High-Tech Gründerfonds II, a German venture fund that provides seed financing to local startups. Founders always have to give up something to access cash, but those who turned to Russia's venture capital sector for financing may have lost more than they realize. And more.

Three IPO hopefuls look to squeeze out $144M as biotech gets bearish

After a record-setting first quarter put billions in the pockets of drug developers, second class of biotech upstarts is scrambling to cash out on Wall Street before an increasingly shaky market shuts the door on life sciences IPOs.

Cerulean stumbles with IPO as investors fret over biotech stocks

Adamas Pharmaceuticals had to price its IPO at the low end of the range today, then saw the stock price surge in early trading. But the lingering damage of a failed Phase IIb study could be seen when Cerulean stumbled onto the IPO stage after cutting its share price to a mere $7, well below the $11 to $13 range that had been hoped for.

Bristol-Myers jockeys for promising position in hep C drug race

Three days after Bristol-Myers Squibb filed for FDA approval of the NS5A drug daclatasvir combined with asunaprevir, an NS3 protease inhibitor, the biotech company has turned over some of the Phase III cards it will be playing for an approval in markets around the world.

Biogen's hemophilia hopeful scores a PhIII win as FDA awaits

Biogen Idec's long-acting hemophilia A drug performed well in a late-stage study on children, the biotech said, giving it another Phase III victory as it races with rivals Bayer and Novo Nordisk to launch a more convenient treatment for the bleeding disorder.

UPDATED: Celladon's heart drug grabs 'breakthrough' status at FDA

San Diego-based Celladon has nabbed a "breakthrough" drug designation from the FDA for its heart failure drug Mydicar. The gene therapy uses a benign virus to insert the Serca2a gene into heart cells.

Soon after media storm fades, Chimerix CEO Moch is out the door

Just weeks after enduring a storm of controversy triggered by his initial refusal to provide a potent but experimental antiviral to a dying child under a compassionate use program, Chimerix CEO Ken Moch is out. The company announced that Moch had resigned--completely unexpectedly--to "pursue other interests" as the board introduced a new CEO to run the company.