Virtual biotechs a hit with investors and, increasingly, buyers

Biotech venture capitalists have increasingly embraced the virtual model, seeding companies with promising assets, tiny staffs and a willingness to outsource. Now, as Reuters notes, a recent Big Pharma buyout signals that the idea is gaining steam among larger players.

Safety scare with AstraZeneca's diabetes drug could shake up the DPP-4 field

The FDA raised some alarming concerns tied to AstraZeneca's Onglyza ahead of a committee meeting to discuss the safety of so-called DPP-4 inhibitors, sounding a worrying note for a blockbuster class of drugs.

Tekmira gets the FDA's OK to resume its Ebola study

Canadian biotech Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is planning to resume its Phase I study of an investigational treatment for Ebola now that the FDA has waved off some lingering safety concerns.

Kathrin Jansen to head Pfizer vaccines R&D

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...

Carbylan pulls off a $65M IPO on its second go-round

Osteoarthritis biotech Carbylan Therapeutics came through with a $65 million IPO after significantly downsizing its ambitions, raising cash to support its treatment for knee pain.

UPDATED: Struggling Eisai will slash 200-plus U.S. jobs as sales revenue slides

Japan's Eisai is taking out the budget ax and chopping more than 200 jobs out of its U.S. operations. A spokesperson for the company tells FierceBiotech tonight that the cuts will center on Eisai's commercial and regional corporate services units, which employ about 850 people. She adds: "The restructuring will not affect our manufacturing or R&D units."

Shire's billion-dollar eye drug gets in line for a speedy FDA review

Shire picked up the FDA's promise of a fast review for its new dry eye drug, a treatment the company believes can eventually bring in more than $1 billion a year.

DBV snags a 'breakthrough' tag for its peanut allergy drug

French biotech DBV Technologies picked up the FDA's coveted breakthrough-therapy designation for its in-development peanut allergy patch, promising a speedy review as it works toward Phase III.

Cellectis opens new R&D center in New York; Inovio wins $45M Ebola contract;

@FierceBiotech: One of Shire's top blockbuster drug prospects flops in a key PhII study. News | Follow @FierceBiotech @JohnCFierce: What bubble? Woodford boosts biotech fund max to $1.2B as...

Fast-growing Juno inks lease on a new HQ

About two years from now, Juno Therapeutics plans to be settling in at its new headquarters at 400 Dexter Avenue North.

Woodford: It's a bubble, Pfizer-backed IO player plans IPO, UniQure cashes in on Bristol deal

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. Neil Woodford entered the ongoing debate over whether biotech is in a bubble this week. And more.

Prothena files for follow-on offering to build $400M R&D war chest

Prothena has filed the paperwork for a follow-on offering that could net it more than $130 million (€121 million). If successful, the offering will leave the transatlantic biotech sitting pretty on a $400 million stockpile of cash as it plots the next steps in the development of its pipeline of in-house and Roche-partnered assets.

Pfizer dumps a hemophilia pact with Catalyst, threatening a merger with Targacept

Six years after Catalyst Biosciences inked a $500 million-plus deal to develop Factor VIIa therapies for hemophilia, Pfizer is walking away from the pact it inherited from Wyeth. And now Targacept, which just struck a reverse merger pact to get Catalyst on to the public market, is considering the implications for their tie-up after the biotech's stock took a nasty dive as news of the breakup spread.

Edge Therapeutics hauls in $72.5M for brain injury R&D

New Jersey biotech Edge Therapeutics pocketed $72.5 million in a series of funding rounds, piling up cash as it prepares to take its lead treatment for brain injuries into Phase III development.

Woodford boosts biotech fund max to $1.2B as investors crowd in

When U.K. investment guru Neil Woodford outlined his initial plans for a new, publicly traded tech fund that would seek out up-and-coming biotechs for its portfolio, he pegged the fund as a $300 million player with an option to jump to $750 million if it proved popular.

One of Shire's top blockbuster drug prospects flops in a key PhII study

Two months ago Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov held up the rare liver disease drug SHP625 as a prime example of its most promising development programs. Today, though, Shire was forced to concede that the drug flopped against both the primary and secondary endpoints in the first of several Phase II studies.

Big Pharma-backed Dutch immuno-oncology player eyes €100M Nasdaq IPO

A Dutch immuno-oncology player that has received venture funding from Johnson & Johnson, Novartis and Pfizer is preparing to list on Nasdaq. The company--Merus--hopes to raise upward of €100 million ($107 million) to advance its pipeline of bispecific IgG antibodies into the clinic and through early-phase trials.

UPDATED: UniQure plans $100M follow-on offering in afterglow of big-ticket Bristol deal

UniQure has moved quickly to cash in on its position in the biotech limelight. Within 24 hours of unveiling its $1 billion tie-up with Bristol-Myers Squibb, the gene therapy specialist had filed the paperwork for a follow-on offering that could net it upwards of $100 million (€92 million).

Portola says it's ready to file 'breakthrough' anticoagulant antidote

Portola Pharmaceuticals has snapped in the last piece to a Phase III program puzzle for its "breakthrough" anti-anticoagulant, painting a clear path to an accelerated regulatory submission later in the year.

Cardio3 to become Celyad as pivot from CV to CAR-T continues

Cardio3 Biosciences is planning to change its name. Having expanded beyond its initial focus on cardiovascular diseases through the acquisition of CAR-T assets, management has decided the name no longer fits. If shareholders approve, Cardio3 will soon become Celyad.