News

Leery of new deals, Roche spotlights its late-stage pipeline standouts

With biosimilar competition beginning to appear on the market horizon, Roche believes it has a shot at pushing its late-stage pipeline drugs to the market in time to stay ahead of the threat to its bottom line. And its PD-L1 cancer drug star atezolizumab is once again being pushed onto center stage as Roche appears determined to place most of its bets on its in-house pipeline.

In Alzheimer's, hope, hype and disappointment as biopharma goes all in on amyloid

Thanks to some recent clinical advances, physicians and scientists--convening in Washington, DC, this week for the Alzheimer's Association International Conference--have some new hope that blasting away some misshapen proteins in the brain called beta amyloids could be a path to finally reversing years of developmental futility.

Big Pharmas back Ra's $58.5M bet on a rival to Soliris

Watch out, Alexion. Little Ra Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, MA, is prepping a clinical study of a new drug that it hopes will one day cut in front of your franchise-building blockbuster Soliris. And the biotech has raised $58.5 million from a lineup of big pharma venture arms and A-list investors to back their clinical bet on a rival to one of the world's most expensive drugs.

Eli Lilly is expanding R&D ops in San Diego, adding 130 researchers

After eking out a tiny gain in revenue for the second quarter, Eli Lilly is in an expansive mood. The Indianapolis-based pharma giant outlined plans today to boost its R&D presence in the San Diego hub, more than doubling its space and adding up to 130 researchers with a big focus on immunology.

KalVista snags $33M from big-name VCs to speed plasma kallikrein inhibitors into clinic

KalVista Pharmaceuticals has persuaded Novo A/S, SV Life Sciences and some other notable VCs to part with $33 million (€29 million). The cash will go toward advancing KalVista's pipeline of plasma kallikrein inhibitors, the most advanced of which is set to enter Phase II next year.

UPDATED: Cara Therapeutics scores another positive PhII for lead opioid

Cara Therapeutics has cleared another mid-stage hurdle in its quest to land a slate of new drug approvals for its next-gen opioid therapy CR845.

Merck extends Ablynx immuno-oncology relationship with heavily backloaded €4B deal

Ablynx has extended its immuno-oncology pact with Merck, boosting its potential earnings from the alliance by €4 billion ($4.4 billion) through the addition of up to 12 new programmes. But Ablynx will have to wait a while for its paydays, with just €13 million of the cash arriving as an upfront payment.

RaNA banks $55M to get its RNA drugs into the clinic

Cambridge, MA's RaNA Therapeutics has wrapped up a $55 million B round, putting together the cash it needs to move a pair of novel treatments toward Phase I and build out its internal product engine.

AstraZeneca's once-lauded drug flunks a Phase III eye cancer trial

AstraZeneca's cancer treatment selumetinib failed to significantly prolong survival in a study on melanoma that has spread to the eye, a late-stage setback for a drug once considered a bright spot in the company's oncology pipeline.

Denali recruits Genentech vet Carole Ho as CMO

The Genentech vets behind South San Francisco-based Denali Therapeutics have recruited one of their former colleagues to join them as CMO and head of research.

Xoma crushed as lead drug flunks a PhIII challenge

After stoking investors' dreams of a turnaround, Xoma delivered another nightmare. The Berkeley, CA-based biotech reported early Wednesday that a Phase III study of gevokizumab in patients with Behçet's disease uveitis was a bust.

Pfizer claims more R&D space in Cambridge, MA, settling into a biotech hotbed

Pfizer, among the horde of drugmakers looking to Cambridge, MA, for innovation, is expanding its outpost in the city's Kendall Square neighborhood, planning to plant about 1,000 workers in what has become biotech's fastest-growing neighborhood.

Roche brings an Alzheimer's drug back from the brink with another PhIII endeavor

Roche is resuscitating development for gantenerumab, an Alzheimer's treatment that flamed out in Phase III late last year, as recent clinical results have emboldened the company to launch new studies.

UPDATED: In a setback, Biogen's mid-range dose of aducanumab flops in Alzheimer's study

Biogen's 6-mg dose of its closely watched Alzheimer's drug aducanumab failed to deliver what the Big Biotech and anxious analysts were hoping to see, falling short of clinical significance on two key measures of efficacy that would have pointed toward a clear path ahead in a pivotal study.

UPDATED: Eli Lilly offers evidence of twice-failed solanezumab's impact on Alzheimer's

Eli Lilly says that it has evidence to show that its amyloid-busting drug solanezumab has a distinct impact on Alzheimer's disease, pointing to a delayed-start 3.5-year extension study, with a group of patients from the original placebo arm continuing to lag behind patients who started on the drug at the beginning.

Report: U.K. academic R&D alliances are expensive but worth it

A report commissioned by the United Kingdom government has found data to corroborate a widely held belief: R&D collaborations with British universities are expensive. Yet with such institutions performing world-class science--and tax breaks and funding schemes offsetting the upfront costs--Big Pharma is lining up to strike deals. Just ask Pfizer.

Israeli biotechs scoop $209M as Nasdaq ATM keeps pumping out dollars

A trio of Israeli biotechs have bagged $209 million (€192 million) through share offerings on Nasdaq. Chiasma led the way with a $101.8 million IPO, trailed by follow-on offerings by NeuroDerm and RedHill Biopharma that pulled in $66.9 million and $40 million, respectively.

Kelly Martin's Malin looks to lure biotechs to Ireland as initial investment spree nears end

Having committed €73 million ($79 million) to Immunocore's huge fundraising round, Kelly Martin's Malin has now nearly doled out the first tranche of the money it raised in its IPO. And as such the focus at Malin is shifting to helping its portfolio companies to grow, a process that will entail talking up the merits of setting up shop in Ireland.

Big Pharma pushes new migraine drugs into Phase III with blockbuster hopes

A cadre of drugmakers is pressing toward late-stage trials with new injectable treatments in the long-stagnant field of migraine therapy, racing to capitalize on what analysts say is a multibillion-dollar market.

Bristol-Myers makes a 'breakthrough' on next-gen HIV therapy

Bristol-Myers Squibb has nabbed a breakthrough therapeutic designation for a next-gen HIV therapy aimed at offering an option for patients who become resistant to the therapies now in use.