News

CRISPR biotech Intellia leases a big R&D hub in Cambridge, MA

Intellia Therapeutics, a Novartis-backed biotech working on gene-editing technology, leased a sizable research space in the hotbed of Cambridge, MA.

Sanofi's reportedly on the verge of 'sizable' job cuts as diabetes business sputters

French drugmaker Sanofi is soon to announce some "sizable" cuts to its payroll, according to Stat, part of new CEO Olivier Brandicourt's plot to engineer a turnaround.

Astellas is still struggling to close its $379M Ocata buyout

When Astellas signed a deal to acquire Ocata Therapeutics in November, it expected the company's shareholders to accept its $8.50-a-share offer within 20 days. But a group of jilted Ocata investors has refused to budge, agitating for a better return and forcing the Japanese drugmaker to prolong the process.

GlaxoSmithKline bails on Basilea's eczema drug, nixing a $72M payout

GlaxoSmithKline has abandoned its plot to win FDA approval for an eczema treatment from Basilea Pharmaceutica, ending a project that could have paid its partner about $72 million plus royalties.

Avanir Pharmaceuticals taps Rohan Palekar for CEO role

In this week's Chutes and Ladders, Rohan Palekar was appointed CEO of Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Allan Shaw was named CFO at Syndax, and Dr. Craig Granowitz was named chief medical officer at Amarin. Plus more hirings and retirings throughout the industry.

Struggling XenoPort rumored to consider a sale

XenoPort, a month removed from deep job cuts, is looking to sell itself, according to Reuters, reaching out to potential acquirers after a string of R&D disappointments.

Galapagos advances AbbVie-partnered CF drug; UCL forms £50M fund; Vasopharm bags €20M

In this week's EuroBiotech Report, the first of two correctors destined for use in Galapagos' triple-hit cystic fibrosis therapy is now in the clinic. With as many as four more assets due to enter Phase I before 2016 is over, Galapagos thinks it has the credentials to call the franchise a full-sized portfolio. And more.

Flailing MannKind makes a murky move to stay afloat, signing away pipeline drugs

MannKind, decimated by the departure of former co-signer Sanofi, is trying to conserve value in the face of sluggish sales for its inhaled insulin, signing a deal to transfer some of its pipeline to an obscure new company.

Vasopharm taps investors for €20M to fund PhIII trial of brain injury treatment

Vasopharm has emerged from talks with investors armed with €20 million ($22 million) to hustle its treatment for traumatic brain injury through Phase III. The funding gives vasopharm renewed momentum after a period in which its lead candidate was stuck between trials for several years.

China's Cocoon rolls out a $720M fund to back U.K. biotechs; AbbVie teams up with MD Anderson on immuno-oncology;

@FierceBiotech: ICYMI: Abingworth tees up a unique, $105M co-development fund for PhIII deals. Article | Follow @FierceBiotech @JohnCFierce: J&J halts a depression program in the shadow of a...

FDA snow day delays review of Sarepta's Duchenne drug

The FDA is taking a snow day this Friday, abandoning scheduled plans to submit Sarepta's Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug to a review by outside experts.

GlaxoSmithKline scientists accused of stealing drug R&D secrets for China scheme

Yu Xue had a hard-earned reputation as a top chemist while she was working for GlaxoSmithKline in its Upper Merion, PA, facility. But Yu Xue--better known as Joyce--was also an accomplished thief during the last four years of her 10-year tenure, according to allegations laid out in a federal indictment filed by the U.S. Attorney's office in Eastern Pennsylvania.

UPDATED: Alkermes slammed as top depression drug fails two PhIIIs

Alkermes reported this morning that its closely watched depression drug ALKS-5461 failed to hit the primary endpoints in the first two of three Phase III studies, slamming the company and the troubled field of depression drug research with a serious setback.

UPDATED: 'I have constitutional rights,' tweets Martin Shkreli, defying Senate subpoena

Over the past three months, Martin Shkreli rarely passed up an opportunity to publicly mock his critics or justify a 5000%-plus price hike on a 62-year-old generic. But when it comes to a Senate probe into the price hike, Shkreli is taking the 5th.

Abingworth tees up a unique, $105M co-development fund for PhIII deals

The international team at Abingworth likes investing in co-development programs, backing two companies that specialize in taking on the risk and cost of Phase III in exchange for a piece of a precalculated, multiyear payout that can be earned for success. And now it has its first, standalone fund stocked with $105 million to invest in more such pacts.

J&J halts a depression program in the shadow of a fatal French trial

In the wake of a disastrous French clinical trial that left one volunteer dead, Johnson & Johnson has voluntarily suspended development of a similar drug until more information comes to light.

Galapagos moves AbbVie-partnered drug into PhI as multipronged attack on CF takes shape

Galapagos has kicked off a Phase I trial of its AbbVie-partnered cystic fibrosis (CF) drug, GLPG2222. The start of the trial marks another milestone in the rolling advance of Galapagos' multipronged attack on CF, which is set to be bolstered later this year by the emergence of more next-generation correctors.

ArGEN-X pulls in €16M to push cancer, autoimmune programs to clinical POC

Federated Investors has bought an 8.6% stake in arGEN-X. The deal sees arGEN-X sell shares worth €16 million ($17.5 million) to the major U.S. asset manager, giving it additional financial firepower at a time when it is closing in on clinical proof-of-concept trials for a clutch of key drugs.

Bristol-Myers moves forward with its $1.2B CytomX alliance

Bristol-Myers Squibb, working alongside CytomX Therapeutics, picked a third cancer project in a collaboration that could pay its partner as much as $1.2 billion.

Surrounded by top scientists, Biden hustles up support for accelerated cancer R&D

Vice President Joe Biden used the spotlight at the World Economic Forum in Davos to gather together some of the top players in drug R&D and highlight his push to speed up the development and approval of new cancer drug combos. His message won the enthusiastic support of NIH chief Francis Collins and resonated with insiders at the FDA, a list that likely includes cancer drug czar Richard Pazdur, who's been playing a leading role in revamping the way cancer drugs are studied and approved for marketing over the past three years.

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