Wall Street wonders what Shire is worth

The share prices of AbbVie and takeover target Shire keep drifting downward amid sustained uncertainty over a deal. A couple of healthcare investors we talked to feel the deal is by no means definite--a concern that is also reflected in the continued wide spread between the latest offer price and Shire's share price.

'Unpromising' Allergan drug projects headed for the chopping block--report

Allergan execs have made no secret of the fact that they've been planning to come up with a lean-and-mean game plan designed to prove to investors that they'd be much better off if they spurned Valeant's offer to buy the company and gut its R&D division. Citing sources close to the company, Bloomberg is reporting that the cutbacks should include work on its most "unpromising" programs in the pipeline.

Sanofi ups the legal ante to block Lilly's Lantus biosimilar

Sanofi has filed another lawsuit against Eli Lilly in hopes of beating back a biosimilar challenge for its top-selling insulin product, claiming its rival's in-development knockoff infringes its intellectual property.

International brouhaha over AbbVie misstep highlights U.K.'s M&A rules

Analysts generally believe that big takeovers are easier to pull off under the U.K.'s M&A guidelines. But you'd better not ignore the very specific rules of the game. AbbVie got a lesson on that score yesterday after CEO Richard Gonzalez confidently confided to a number of major news outlets, including the Financial Times and Reuters, that he had already chatted up most of Shire's big investors and won their support for a $51 billion buyout.

NIH sickle cell partner AesRx moves up the food chain in Baxter buyout

Having played a pioneering role collaborating with the NIH on a new drug for sickle cell disease, Newton, MA-based AesRx has moved up the food chain after completing a buyout deal with Baxter International.

Antibody expert arGEN-X pulls off a $54.5M IPO

Dutch biotech arGEN-X has raised €40 million ($54.5 million) in a Brussels IPO, planning to bankrolling its internal candidates and expand its in-demand antibody technology.

After a taste of disaster, Reata plans a comeback for bardoxolone

Close to four years ago, Reata Pharmaceuticals scored one of the biggest packages of upfront and near-term cash the industry had seen at that point. AbbVie signed up to partner on its chronic kidney drug bardoxolone by dangling $450 million in quick cash, and then came back a year later to get the full portfolio of follow-up drugs at Reata for another $400 million upfront.

Celgene's would-be blockbuster fails in Phase III for spinal arthritis

Celgene's apremilast couldn't quite beat placebo in a late-stage trial on a rare and severe form of arthritis, imperiling a potential indication for a drug the company believes can break the blockbuster barrier.

Otonomy heads to the FDA after its ear treatment clears Phase III

Privately held Otonomy is touting positive late-stage results for its investigational ear treatment, gearing up for an FDA application just months after raising $49 million in venture cash.

Boehringer's 'breakthrough' cancer drug comes through in Phase II

Boehringer Ingelheim's treatment for a rare form of leukemia prolonged survival and beat out chemotherapy in a midstage study on elderly patients, the company said, results that will help make the case for a drug that has already received the FDA's breakthrough therapy designation.

Lilly partners with China's Yabao on diabetes drug

Eli Lilly is partnering with Beijing-based Yabao Pharmaceuticals on the development of its early-stage diabetes drug LY2608204.

AstraZeneca spreads its virtual reach to cardio R&D with new partnership

AstraZeneca is expanding iMed, its virtual R&D project, through a cardiovascular-focused agreement with Germany's Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology that will focus on early-stage research.

UPDATED: Intent on closing a deal, AbbVie boosts its bid for Shire to $51B

Intent on nailing a big Shire buyout, this morning AbbVie boosted its premium offer by 11%, bringing the total to some $51 billion.

Versant close to capping $300M fund to foster next-gen biotechs

Versant Ventures is nearing the finish line in its quest to raise a fresh $300 million fund to finance a new wave of biotech and med tech companies. The group, which is based in Menlo Park, CA, filed papers with the SEC indicating that it has now raised all but a few million dollars for Versant Ventures V, its first new fund since the last big $500 million fund was opened for business in 2008.

Novartis' leading CAR-T cancer therapy gains breakthrough status at the FDA

The FDA has provided its special 'breakthrough' status for Novartis' closely-watched development program for a personalized CAR-T cancer therapy, promising to help speed development for engineered T cells.

Bristol-Myers' hep C combo wins Japanese OK, leading the pack

Bristol-Myers Squibb has become the first drugmaker to win regulatory approval for a combination hepatitis C treatment that doesn't require painful injections, picking up a Japanese nod for its all-oral cocktail.

J&J hands over $25M milestone for daratumumab progress

Jan van de Winkel The Danish biotech Genmab has won a $25 million milestone from its $1.1 billion collaboration deal with Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) on the CD38 antibody daratumumab. The...

Where's the U.K. outrage over AbbVie's pursuit of Shire?

When Pfizer mounted its 12-figure pursuit of the U.K.'s AstraZeneca earlier this year, local politicians went on the attack, painting the U.S. company as a bottom-line-minded raider with ill designs the nation's scientific pedigree. Now, as the American AbbVie makes a similar, if smaller-scale, attempt on the Irish-headquartered Shire, ministers, members of parliament and business leaders have been loath to take up arms.

Anti-PD-1 cancer star nivolumab wins world's first regulatory approval

The anti-PD-1 immuno-oncology drug star nivolumab has won the race to the world's first regulatory checkered flag for an approval. Ono Pharmaceutical, which picked up the Japanese rights to the drug in a collaboration deal with Medarex back in 2005, says regulators in the Asian country approved nivolumab for sale as a treatment for unresectable melanoma.

Endo, BDSI buoyed as PhIII pain drug success clears path to FDA

More than two years ago the pain specialist Endo Pharmaceuticals stepped up with a $180 million deal to license rights to BEMA Buprenorphine, a pain therapy that had been repackaged using delivery tech from BioDelivery Sciences International, even though it had just failed the primary endpoint in a critical Phase III study. Today, Endo put out the word that its gamble had paid off, saying that a new Phase III trial hit the goal line on reduction in pain compared to a placebo, putting the treatment on a path to the FDA for a marketing decision.