J&J recruits a pioneering expert panel to handle compassionate-use pleas

In an industry first, Johnson & Johnson has collaborated with the NYU School of Medicine to create a panel of experts who will evaluate pleas for access to its experimental meds. And it's being chaired by Arthur Caplan, a nationally recognized bioethicist who has long advocated for a better approach in handling compassionate-use requests.

Atlas' new immuno-oncology biotech recruits an AstraZeneca vet to take the reins

Surface Oncology, an immunotherapy-focused startup from Atlas Venture, has poached AstraZeneca's former chief cancer strategist to serve as its CEO, beating a path toward clinical development.

Gilead buys EpiTherapeutics to access Danish epigenetics expertise

Gilead Sciences has moved into epigenetic research by acquiring EpiTherapeutics for $65 million (€57 million) in cash. The deal gives it access to science originated at a team headed by Kristian Helin, a lauded oncology epigenetics expert and founder of Denmark's Biotech Research and Innovation Centre.

U.S. biotech Verseon bucks trend by going to U.K. for $100M IPO

Verseon has made the contrarian decision to go public in London. The California biotech opted against listing on Nasdaq in favor of London's AIM, on which it raised $100 million from Neil Woodford and other investors.

Pfizer taps new R&D leaders as Gutiérrez-Ramos heads back into biotech

José-Carlos Gutiérrez-Ramos, Pfizer's prominent head of BioTherapeutics R&D in Cambridge, MA, is leaving the pharma giant and jumping into the booming biotech world, prompting a promotion inside the multibillion-dollar research group.

AbbVie gets a 'breakthrough' for one of its top cancer drugs

A couple of months ago, AbbVie pointed to its late-stage cancer drug venetoclax (ABT-199) as a prime reason it was willing to pay a dizzying $21 billion in order to acquire Imbruvica-maker Pharmacyclics. Matching the blood cancer blockbuster with its experimental therapy would help amp up its market reach, said AbbVie. And the FDA has now boosted that argument with its breakthrough therapy designation for venetoclax, possibly opening the door to a swifter approval path.

Spyryx Biosciences raises $18M with a novel take on cystic fibrosis

Vertex Pharmaceuticals has made a major difference--and a lot of money--in cystic fibrosis with its targeted treatments, drugs tailored for patients with particular genetic defects. But upstart Spyryx Biosciences believes it may have discovered a way to treat all forms of CF with a single therapy, and the company raised $18 million in Series A cash to advance the idea.

FierceBiotech Radio with Editas Medicine's Katrine Bosley

Editas Medicine CEO Katrine Bosley joins FierceBiotech Radio to discuss gene editing, the Biogen alumni network and life in biotech's boomtown.

Galapagos dials up IPO target as AbbVie asks for $30M stake

Galapagos has increased the amount it hopes to raise in its upcoming Nasdaq IPO to $230 million (€203 million) after AbbVie placed a provisional order for a $30 million stake. The order adds a subplot to the ongoing speculation about whether AbbVie will take up its $200 million option to buy into Galapagos' rheumatoid arthritis program or acquire the company outright.

Oxford BioMedica takes out $50M loan to service Novartis CAR-T alliance

Oxford BioMedica has secured a $50 million (€45 million) loan, half of which it will take out immediately to expand its laboratory and manufacturing facilities. The first tranche of money will help OXB service its CAR-T alliance with Novartis.

Themis raises €7M, adds GSK vet to board as partnership plans gather pace

Themis Bioscience has raised €7 million ($7.8 million) and reshaped its board of directors as it prepares to start mid-phase trials and step up its partnership strategy. Wellington Partners led the round, which gives Themis the money to move its Chikungunya vaccine candidate into Phase II.

Reckitt Benckiser spinout climbs after PhIII schizophrenia trial hits endpoints

Indivior has impressed with its first notable news since it spun out of Reckitt Benckiser late last year. The specialty pharma company reported that its schizophrenia drug RBP-7000 met the primary endpoint in a Phase III trial, moving it a step closer to its goal of winning FDA approval in 2017.

Gilead jumps into epigenetics with a bite-size biotech buyout

As market watchers wonder whether Gilead Sciences is on the verge of a blockbuster buyout, the Big Biotech inked a small deal that will beef up its efforts in the growing field of epigenetics.

Adaptimmune hauls in $191M in an upsized immuno-oncology IPO

Adaptimmune Therapeutics, at work on cancer treatments that harness the body's natural defenses, pulled off a $191.3 million IPO, riding onto Wall Street amid investor exuberance for immuno-oncology.

Lilly heads to Cambridge, MA, as Big Pharma gentrifies a biotech hotbed

Eli Lilly is the latest multinational drugmaker looking to Cambridge, MA, to jump-start its innovation engine, blueprinting a new R&D outpost on the Charles River as biotech's hippest neighborhood gets more and more crowded.

Kymab pockets $50M from some A-list U.K. backers

U.K. biotech Kymab has added Neil Woodford and the newly launched Malin to its who's-who syndicate of investors, adding $50 million to its B round and accelerating its pipeline.

UPDATED: Alexion scoops up a rare-disease blockbuster in $8.4B Synageva buyout

Alexion jumped into the M&A game today, striking a deal to acquire the rare-disease biotech Synageva for $8.4 billion in cash and stock in a deal that gives shareholders a big premium and the industry another example of the fast-rising valuations in the biotech world.

AstraZeneca partner Ardelyx dives (again) as lead drug flunks PhII

Shares of Ardelyx plunged in after-market trading Tuesday after the AstraZeneca partner conceded failure in a Phase IIa study of its troubled lead drug.

Symbiomix pops out of stealth mode with $41M and a looming PhIII

In the little more than two years since its launch, Symbiomix Therapeutics has successfully navigated a midstage study for a sole-asset antibiotic, positioning it for a Phase III start in Q2. And now it's ready to jump out of stealth mode as it prepares for a make-or-break move for an anti-infective that has been in use for years--just not in the U.S.

Alder hunts for a new partner after Bristol-Myers nixed a $1B deal

Alder BioPharmaceuticals is touting more mid-stage success for its in-development inflammation treatment, scouting for a deep-pocketed partner to pick up where ex-collaborator Bristol-Myers Squibb left off.