Activists want Spectrum to dump its CEO and find a buyer

Hedge fund Armistice Capital has taken a 5.4% stake in Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, agitating for sweeping changes in how the biotech does business and demanding it find a buyer on the quick.

Analysts are souring fast on GlaxoSmithKline's defensive market crouch

Whenever a prominent analyst like Tim Anderson at Bernstein pens a review of a struggling Big Pharma company that asks the question if all hope is lost, you know it will be a painful read for any remaining true believers. GlaxoSmithKline and its embattled CEO Andrew Witty came in for that treatment a few days ago. And even if Anderson's answer was a qualified no, you can hear the clock ticking as the market waits for some kind of sign that there's a coherent plan taking shape to move forward decisively.

NewLink shares plunge as cancer vaccine passes another interim analysis

NewLink Genetics rattled investors after the markets closed on Monday, saying it will need to cruise past its second planned interim analysis for a late-stage cancer vaccine without any change to the trial. No news is bad news as far as the market is concerned.

Eli Lilly puts cancer immunotherapies in spotlight with $360M-plus BioNTech deal

Eli Lilly has turned to Germany's BioNTech to form its latest collaboration on the cancer immunotherapy front, handing over $60 million--$30 million as a signing bonus and $30 million for equity--and promising up to $300 million in milestones for each new program that can go the distance.

Moderna flips mRNA rare-disease programs into its third new venture unit

Shuffling a thick deck of preclinical programs, Moderna Therapeutics has dealt out a fresh biotech hand for the third in its series of venture units tasked with recruiting a new team to shepherd messenger RNA programs into the clinic.

Pfizer continues its deal spree with a $600M option pact to buy AM-Pharma

Continuing a deal spree aimed at beefing up a weak pipeline, Pfizer has agreed to pay $87.5 million for a stake in the Dutch biotech AM-Pharma along with an option to buy the biotech. And there's another $512.5 million on the table should Pfizer exercise its option, with the deal hinging on the biotech's successful completion of a Phase II study of a new treatment for acute kidney injury (AKI) related to sepsis.

FDA lawsuit in hand, Amarin plots a new Vascepa marketing strategy

Amarin styled its lawsuit against the FDA looking to lift the restrictions in place on its marketing case for the prescription-strength fish oil Vascepa as a First Amendment issue regarding free speech.

Surging Alexion plots a $500M splash in Ireland

Rare disease biotech Alexion is blueprinting a major expansion in Ireland, planning to spend €450 million ($500 million) and hire 200 workers over four years as it forecasts a bright future for its business model.

Amgen, Fidelity help bankroll another upstart gene-editing player with $25.6M A round

The wave of cash that has been lifting all boats in the gene-editing pool has now lifted a new biotech into view. Precision BioSciences, a Duke spinout focused on competing in the fractious and rapidly growing field, has grabbed a $27.6 million A round with the help of some A-list investors.

Celgene's R&D speed dating is starting to pay off, CEO says

Commit up to $485 million to buy a cancer genomics company. Pay another $450 million for a share of an immuno-oncology candidate. Throw in a $30 million licensing deal and an $80 million bet on a longtime collaborator and you've got a month in the life of Celgene, biotech's most prolific dealmaker.

Hype or hope? GlaxoSmithKline bankrolls a tiny startup in search of an HIV cure

A struggling GlaxoSmithKline has set up an economy-sized research spinout with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that's short on cash and long--very, very long--on its promise to hunt for a cure for HIV.

Actavis keeps its Phase III promise with Molecular Partners' eye drug

Actavis is rolling toward a Phase III trial with an eye treatment licensed from Switzerland's Molecular Partners, following through on a promise made in the lead-up to its $66 billion acquisition of Allergan.

BMS looks to Caforio as next CEO

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...

MorphoSys bags a peptide biotech for $22M

MorphoSys pulled the trigger on a deal for partner Lanthio Pharma, paying €20 million ($22 million) for the shares it didn't already own and picking up a handful of peptide candidates.

Bellicum buys into CAR-T manufacturing amid a hot immuno-oncology race

Following the lead of Juno Therapeutics and Kite Pharma, CAR-T contender Bellicum Pharmaceuticals is splashing cash on an in-house manufacturing operation, speeding its cell therapies into clinical trials in a host of cancers.

UPDATED: FDA review challenges Vertex on crucial cystic fibrosis combo data

FDA reviewers plan to put Vertex's cystic fibrosis team to the test on Tuesday. In a review of the big biotech's data for its closely watched combination therapy for CF, the reviewers raised doubts about the efficacy of the drug, posing a challenge to a program that is crucial to Vertex's future.

Lilly unloads another drug to Transition in $100M deal

Canada's Transition Therapeutics is expanding its relationship with Eli Lilly, promising up to $100 million in exchange for a muscle-boosting drug candidate.

Phase I safety scare costs TetraLogic a $25M fundraise

A serious safety snag forced TetraLogic to halt enrollment in a Phase I hepatitis B trial for its lead drug, pulling the plug on a planned public offering.

La Jolla dumps its NASH drug and shifts its focus to rare disease

La Jolla Pharmaceutical is pulling the plug on a pair of projects--including one for the common liver disease NASH--after the FDA set out a difficult regulatory road ahead.

AbbVie orders $30M of Galapagos' IPO, Indivior aces schizophrenia trial, Gilead inks Danish deal

In this week's EuroBiotech Report, Galapagos received a boost ahead of its upcoming Nasdaq IPO when AbbVie placed a provisional order for $30 million (€26 million) in shares, which could be seen as a sign AbbVie will take up its option on rheumatoid arthritis drug filgotinib or buy Galapagos outright. And more.