News

UPDATED: $6B Covance buyout puts LabCorp in the CRO biz

LabCorp is diversifying. The big diagnostics player has swooped in to buy the contract research organization Covance for $6.1 billion in cash and stock, confident that a combination of its expertise with Covance's approach to contract drug development will make for a successful merger.

UPDATED: Nymox blasted as lead drug flops in twin PhIII enlarged prostate studies

Nymox Pharmaceutical is headed for a bruising opening this morning after putting out word on Sunday that both their late-stage studies of their lead drug flopped as a treatment for enlarged prostate. Partnered with Italy's Recordati, the biotech put out a brief statement blaming the failure on an unexpectedly high placebo response.

Novartis sets sights on Philly amid a sweeping CAR-T collaboration

Novartis has leased a sizable outpost in the Philadelphia suburbs, according to a local report, settling into the area as it works with University of Pennsylvania researchers on a promising new approach to treating cancer.

Impax cans 25% of its R&D staff in a cost-cutting gambit

Impax Laboratories is slashing its R&D payroll and moving away from early-stage research, a move designed to save cash in the midst of a costly transition.

Novo Nordisk bets another $130M on diabetes R&D with new Danish hub

Novo Nordisk has broken ground on a new R&D shop in its native Denmark, plotting a $130 million project that will expand its wide footprint in diabetes research.

Sanofi CEO Viehbacher ousted unanimously by its board

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)...

FDA pulls back the curtain on Sarepta's latest DMD delay

In an uncommon move, the FDA has publicly weighed in on an in-development drug, clarifying the status of Sarepta Therapeutics' closely watched Duchenne muscular dystrophy treatment eteplirsen in light of an earlier setback that tanked the biotech's shares.

Clarus and Frazier back a 'backyard' biotech team with $26.5M for epigenetics R&D

The band behind FerroKin BioSciences, a pioneer of the virtual biotech model, has gotten back together to take a stab at epigenetics, raising $26.5 million from some A-list investors to develop new treatments for orphan diseases.

Daiichi Sankyo's new a-fib drug heads toward FDA approval and a crowded market

A panel of FDA advisers voted in favor of approving Daiichi Sankyo's irregular heartbeat treatment edoxaban, heralding its ability to break up blood clots and improving the company's odds of finally launching the drug in the U.S.

Big Pharma backs EU antibiotic R&D plan, Pfizer prompts Karo cuts, Advent closes £146M fund

In this week's EuroBiotech Report, a who's who of Big Pharma companies joined a European public-private consortium to develop and test new economic models of antibiotic R&D with the goal of making antibiotic R&D economically attractive again. And more.

Chris Viehbacher leaving Sanofi without a U.S.-style windfall

For the now-former chief of Sanofi, Chris Viehbacher, there's plenty of money for a cushion, but it won't be nearly as plump as the packages granted to his counterparts in the U.S.

Little Cortendo gains $11M for late-stage Cushing's study, hatches U.S. IPO plans

Cortendo is coming to America. Founded in Sweden, the little biotech has a new CEO who's building the executive team in the Philadelphia area. And he's dropping plans for a listing on the Oslo exchange in favor of a U.S. IPO after raising $11 million in bridge financing.

AstraZeneca wins another diabetes approval in a fast-crowding market

AstraZeneca won an FDA nod for a one-pill combination of its latest diabetes drug and the long-generic metformin, making it the second to market among a cadre of drugmakers developing similar cocktails.

Bristol-Myers' nivolumab impresses once again--this time in crucial lung cancer study

Bristol-Myers Squibb's closely watched checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab managed to wow analysts this morning with impressive survival results in a Phase II study of patients with advanced squamous cell non-small cell lung cancer. Of all the patients in the drug arm, 41% were alive at the one-year mark, while investigators tracked an overall response rate of 15%.

Novo Nordisk walks back some U.S. optimism for its next-gen insulin

Novo Nordisk is sounding a more cautious tone on Tresiba, its once-rejected new insulin. After hinting at an accelerated trip back to the FDA for the long-acting diabetes treatment, the Danish drugmaker now says it could be another few years before the injection is ready for another shot at approval.

Cleveland Clinic toasts Novartis, PCSK9ers and immuno-oncology in its R&D top 10

The Cleveland Clinic's annual list of the most promising medical innovations reads a bit like a biopharma yearbook, name-checking a slew of potential blockbuster treatments and affirming the potential of some of the biggest targets in drug development.

Scripps cancer spinout Xcovery grabs $20M from a pharma partner in China

Chris Liang had already forged a compelling profile in drug development when the newly formed Scripps Florida recruited him as head of chemistry back in 2004. Liang, who emigrated from China in 1984 to attend grad school at Princeton, had worked on Sutent early on in his career. He went on to found the first Scripps Florida spinout--Xcovery--with Genzyme founder Sheridan Snyder. And today, Liang put out the word that Xcovery has inked its first big deal for the little biotech with a virtual staff.

Xencor moves on without Amgen, ditching its hopes in arthritis

Xencor has reacquired the rights to an Amgen-optioned antibody, walking away from the Big Biotech and an arthritis indication with hopes of a new path in rare disease.

Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher gets the boot: What happens next in R&D?

Chris Viehbacher took the helm of Sanofi with one clear message about the future: R&D at the Big Pharma had to undergo a radical restructuring. The lost decade in drug development following 2000 proved that Sanofi and others had to mend their ways, he said, forcing the company to reach outside the organization for innovation and shed the dead wood that had accumulated in its research ops.

Armed with $48M bankroll, Aileron sets sights on p53 tumor target

Aileron Therapeutics has gone back to the well of investor cash and drawn up another $18 million in fresh support for its soon-to-launch, early-stage study of a p53 targeting cancer therapy.