News

Fresh funds in hand, VentiRx joins AstraZeneca, Ludwig and CRI for combo immuno-oncology study

Yesterday, Seattle-based VentiRx Pharmaceuticals put out the word that it had raised a new round of cash to back an ongoing mid-stage study of motolimod (VTX-2337), its TLR8 cancer vaccine, adding that the biotech had won fast-track status for the program. And today the company is following up with the news that it's partnering with the Ludwig Cancer Research and the Cancer Research Institute on a new immuno-oncology combo development effort with AstraZeneca's hot checkpoint inhibitor MEDI-4736.

AbbVie ties the knot with Infinity in $805M blood cancer collaboration

AbbVie has agreed to hand over $275 million upfront to Infinity Pharmaceuticals in exchange for rights to develop and commercialize duvelisib, its oral PI3k-delta/gamma inhibitor for blood cancers. And the blockbuster-size deal for Infinity's lead program comes with $530 million in potential milestones.

GSK's new Boston collaboration chief goes 'anti-pharma' as he prowls for partners

GSK vet Jason Gardner is the newly named VP for R&D in the greater Boston area, in charge of a small but growing team of specialists at a brand-new satellite facility that will help coordinate not only the 25-or-so ongoing scientific collaborations with groups like the Harvard Stem Cell Institute but also biotech partnerships with the likes of Epizyme.

Mapp's Ebola treatment comes through in a preclinical study

Tiny Mapp Biopharmaceutical's much-scrutinized Ebola treatment proved 100% effective in animal studies, the company said, stoking hopes that the investigational therapy can help curb an outbreak of the virus.

Servier and Amgen's cardio drug faces uncertain future after trial flop

Ivabradine, a heart rate-reducing drug from Servier and Amgen, failed to beat placebo in a huge study of patients with coronary artery disease, potentially clouding its future on two continents.

Bristol-Myers dumps $1B-plus Alder deal, punts rheumatoid arthritis drug

Shares of Alder BioPharmaceuticals took a hit Tuesday morning after the biotech reported that Bristol-Myers Squibb had dumped its $1 billion-plus collaboration deal on the IL-6 drug clazakizumab, which had cleared a Phase IIb study for rheumatoid arthritis.

Acadia surges after nabbing 'breakthrough' title for late-stage Parkinson's drug

The FDA has just added a fresh boost to Acadia Pharmaceuticals, naming its late-stage Parkinson's drug pimavanserin a "breakthrough" therapy deserving rapid regulatory response as it nears the finish line with a closely watched marketing application.

UPDATED: Setback forces Novo Nordisk to abandon anti-inflammatory R&D work, affecting 400 staffers

Among all the pharma companies, Novo Nordisk always stood out for its relentless R&D focus on diabetes and obesity. Today, the Danish company amped up that concentration another notch, jettisoning a group of clinical programs and winding down its work in anti-inflammatory treatments. And the pharma player added that the move would hit some 400 staffers, with close to half likely to lose their jobs at Novo.

UPDATED: Cabozantinib flops against prostate cancer, forcing big job cuts at Exelixis

Late on Monday evening Exelixis put out the word that its crucial late-stage study of cabozantinib flunked a comparison study with prednisone for castration-resistant prostate cancer, triggering a restructuring that will eliminate 70% of the jobs at the biotech.

Sanofi, Regeneron point to potential heart benefit in PCSK9 data dump

The development team from Sanofi and Regeneron journeyed to the ESC Congress in Barcelona this weekend to detail the impact their late-stage PCSK9 drug alirocumab has on bad cholesterol, drawing some high-profile attention for a batch of preliminary numbers suggesting a trend toward lower cardiovascular risks.

Novartis' LCZ696 kindles megablockbuster projections with impressive PhIII heart data

Novartis told the world back in March that its experimental heart drug LCZ696 had delivered the goods early in a pivotal study, allowing for a quick wrap of the Phase III trial. And today the pharma giant painted in the numbers, completing the late-stage picture for a closely watched therapy that has the potential to rival the most successful drug franchises now on the market.

ThromboGenics spins out cancer R&D, scales down staff amid lackluster Jetrea sales

Disappointing sales of ThromboGenics' only marketed product, Jetrea, have taken their toll on the company's profits this year. To get back in the black, the Belgian company now says it's spinning out its cancer R&D activities to focus on the struggling eye drug.

Band of West Coast biotech insiders pushes oral anticoagulant to PhIII

Some well-known biopharma execs on the West Coast, including Impax Labs founder and former CEO Larry Hsu, have teamed up on a low budget, late-stage program for an oral anticoagulant.

Sanofi appoints Japan exec to lead U.S. pharma ops

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 Michael Gibney (email | Twitter)...

Booming Gilead blueprints an overhaul of its campus

After more than doubling its work force over the past 6 years, Gilead is investing part of the fortune it has reaped from HIV drugs as well as the hep C therapy Sovaldi in a complete makeover of its big campus in Foster City, CA.

Round two? Market rumors on a new Pfizer bid for AstraZeneca heat up

The story about a potential new takeover offer for AstraZeneca by Pfizer will not die.

Biotech upstart Dezima will take on Merck and Lilly in PhIII CETP showdown

In one of the most improbable rivalries in the drug development world, tiny Dutch biotech Dezima today laid claim to a successful Phase IIb study of its CETP cholesterol drug TA-8995, putting it on track to a 2015 launch for a Phase III showdown with two giants in the field, Eli Lilly and Merck.

China's new biotech billionaire beefs up cardio pipeline with $600M buyout

Newly minted biopharma billionaire Liu Dianbo has added to his fortune while burnishing his rep as one of the top biotech drug developers in China. His company, Luye Pharma Group, acquired a 58% stake in Beijing Jialin Pharma Pharmaceutical for close to $600 million, beefing up its pipeline of cardiovascular drugs while expanding its product lineup.

Report: In a big split, Baxter looks to relocate biopharma to Boston

For months now rumors of a big prospective biotech relocation have been circulating in the hot Boston hub. And now the Boston Business Journal, a weekly with its ear to the ground on all things related to real estate, reports that its sources are saying that the company in question is Baxter International.

India's Piramal decides to dump early-stage drug R&D

India's Piramal is getting out of early-stage drug development. The company says it wants to move up the clinical ladder, focusing on later-stage development work on molecules.