UPDATED: Two deaths force MSK to hit the brakes on engineered T cell cancer study

Investigators are halting recruitment for a small study using T cells reengineered with chimeric antigen receptors against CD19-positive B cells for aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma, triggering concerns about the potential fallout at Juno Therapeutics, the biotech formed to commercialize the effort.

All eyes on Pfizer as palbociclib prepares to take the stage

Analysts will be all ears as the company sheds light on its would-be blockbuster.

Merck and Ferring team up on anti-bleeding drug for the developing world

Alongside Swiss drugmaker Ferring and the World Health Organization, Merck is embarking on a multinational effort to develop an easily transportable treatment for excessive bleeding, hoping to curb global rates of postpartum hemorrhage among the world's poorest mothers.

AbbVie gets out of the way as the EU prepares for trial transparency

Amid a continental push to make more clinical trial results available to the public, the European Medicines Agency has apparently assuaged a former foe in AbbVie, as the drugmaker dropped a lawsuit designed to block the release of data on its blockbuster Humira.

Novartis gets new head of Japanese business amid misconduct investigations

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)...

Amgen's viral cancer vaccine misses its survival goal in melanoma PhIII

After a string of promising late-stage results, Amgen's cancer-fighting viral vaccine failed to extend patients' lives at a statistically significant rate, missing a secondary endpoint and marking the first blemish on the biotech's top cancer prospect.

GTx's CEO finds the door as the company moves on from a PhIII failure

After nearly 25 years at biotech GTx, CEO Mitchell Steiner has stepped down from the top spot, leaving behind a drug developer working to salvage its pipeline after a devastating late-stage setback.

Halozyme tanks after another mid-stage setback dings its cancer drug

Halozyme has pressed pause on a Phase II trial of its lead cancer candidate over safety concerns, news that sent the biotech's shares down 25% on Friday morning.

InDex mulls Swedish IPO, Circassia backer posts profit jump, U.K. targets bio investment

This week's edition of the EuroBiotech Report brings fresh evidence that the U.S. biotech IPO boom has landed on European shores, with other companies from the stable of Circassia-backer Imperial Innovations considering going public and InDex Pharmaceuticals preparing to test the waters in Sweden. And more.

Sanofi sets sights on Africa with an eye on M&A

A few days after a similar announcement from GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi said it plans to scale up its presence in Africa, looking to invest in marketing and R&D in response to the market's continued growth.

Pharma giants jostle for the cancer R&D spotlight at AACR

A group of the world's biopharma companies are preparing to unveil new data on some of the most closely watched cancer drugs in the pipeline this weekend during the annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research in San Diego. And some have begun jostling for the spotlight.

Corium pulls off a $52M IPO to fund its needle-free pipeline

Menlo Park, CA's Corium International pocketed $52 million in an IPO to match established drugs with convenient delivery platforms, scoring the quarter's first Wall Street debut as the industry hopes an early-year bull market can survive into spring.

Celgene pays VCs $47M to up its stake in Acceleron's pipeline

The dealmakers at Celgene like to get really, really close to their biotech partners. And nothing demonstrates the sincerity of their interest in new technologies better than the acquisition of a nice big chunk of equity.

Novartis-backed Neurovance bags $6.3M to focus on ADHD

Cambridge, MA's Neurovance has reeled in a $6.3 million extension to its earlier Series A, money it'll use to push forward with a promising nonstimulant treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Party drug turned 'miracle' cure for depression spurs hype and stubborn hope

The notion that a party drug could be repurposed into a "miracle" cure for severe, treatment-resistant depression is an almost irresistible story line in the popular press. And there's no reason why it can't be recycled using results from the same small, short-duration study design that long ago attracted some of the world's largest research organizations still engaged in researching new drugs in one of the most difficult fields in R&D.

Lumena swings for a $75M IPO to bear down on liver diseases

A month removed from raising $45 million in venture backing, San Diego's Lumena Pharmaceuticals wants $75 million more as it plots a Wall Street debut, piling up cash to advance its two liver treatments.

Battered Amarin finally lands a partner for Vascepa

After a rough go with the FDA sent its shares spiraling downward, Amarin has at last found a partner to help commercialize its fish-oil-derived pill for high triglycerides.

Baxter snaps up its hemophilia partner on the verge of a biotech breakup

Baxter is buying out collaborator Chatham Therapeutics for $70 million, planning to absorb the gene therapy specialist into its growing hemophilia R&D operation as it prepares to separate its drug and device businesses next year.

Analysts, experts are dazzled by the blockbuster potential of Novartis' LCZ696

The data aren't out yet, but the buzz about Novartis' new late-stage contender for blockbuster status is growing to fever pitch. This morning Leerink opted to add on $3 billion to the pharma giant's forecasted revenue for 2026, concluding that LCZ696 has the distinct potential of becoming a mainstay therapy in the prevention of cardiovascular deaths--even substituting for the generic ACE inhibitors that now dominate the market.

Stallergenes beats Merck to market as FDA OKs its allergy pill

France's Stallergenes won FDA approval to market the U.S.'s first oral immunotherapy for grass allergies, giving it a head start on rival Merck, which expects to launch a similar product this year.