NantKwest's record-setting IPO heaps another billion onto Soon-Shiong's fortune

NantKwest turned heads on Wall Street last month when it raised more than $200 million in an above-the-range IPO, immediately trading up to command a market value of more than $2 billion. But the biggest beneficiary was Patrick Soon-Shiong, the billionaire entrepreneur who adopted NantKwest into his family of companies months before and amassed a lucrative stake in the process.

Pfizer takes the lead in another hot immuno-oncology contest

The immuno-oncology arena is seeing a new player enter the hottest game in R&D. And some of the biggest companies in biopharma are pushing into early-stage studies, spawning a fresh rivalry as researchers jockey for the lead position in what promises to be a hotly contested race.

Decimated by clinical failure, Xoma turns to plan B

Xoma, thrust into penny-stock territory after its lead drug failed in Phase III, isn't planning to shut its doors, instead pressing forward with the candidates it has left and promising to transform itself into a nimble biotech with a shot at survival.

At Epizyme, CEO Gould steps aside and Bazemore takes the reins

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...

Sanofi deepens its Evotec ties with a $330M diabetes deal

Sanofi is expanding its relationship with close partner Evotec, signing a deal worth up to $330 million to collaborate on cell-replacement therapies for diabetes.

Galapagos peaks as AbbVie hype builds, Shorts target Bavarian, MorphoSys makes GPCR play

In this week's EuroBiotech Report, excitement around a long-awaited escalation of AbbVie's rheumatoid arthritis deal with Galapagos hit new highs in the wake of a 24-week clinical trial update. Galapagos' selective JAK1 inhibitor filgotinib is now well set to convince AbbVie to hand over its $200 million (€182 million) opt-in fee, a situation that drove shares in the Belgian drugmaker to new highs. And more.

Allergan reloaded: Bypassing early-stage R&D in the hunt for new biotech deals

The big question that analysts had for Allergan CEO and quick-draw dealmaking artist Brent Saunders on this morning's Q2 call centered squarely on his plans for new biotech deals now that he's inked a $40.5 billion generics sale with Teva.

Epizyme parts ways with its CEO ahead of big Phase II cancer bet

After more than 5 years in the top spot, Epizyme CEO Robert Gould is stepping down next month, leaving the company as it presses forward with a pair of promising cancer drugs.

Biotech's top boomtowns: Rising rents, growing salaries and larger ranks

The higher rents rise in the Boston/Cambridge biotech hub, the hotter its rep as the go-to life sciences cluster in the U.S. A new survey from the property analysts at JLL, or Jones Lang LaSalle, ranked Beantown as the top biotech cluster in America, followed by Raleigh-Durham, San Francisco, San Diego and New York City.

FierceBiotech Radio on Shire's $30B gambit, Merck's Ebola vaccine, and GSK's corruption scandal

FiercePharma's Carly Helfand and FierceBiotech's Damian Garde discuss Shire's $30 billion bid for the nascent Baxalta, the promise of Merck's vaccine for Ebola, and the latest corruption allegations against GlaxoSmithKline.

MorphoSys hooks up with G7 Therapeutics to feed hunger for stabilized GPCRs

MorphoSys has struck another deal to support its ambitions to create antibodies against G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The latest deal sees MorphoSys hook up with G7 Therapeutics, a Swiss biotech with platforms for the creation of stabilized GPCRs suitable for structure-based drug design.

Eyeing first profits, Tillman Gerngross's Avitide nabs one last VC round

When serial biotech entrepreneur and Dartmouth scientist Tillman Gerngross co-founded Avitide in early 2013, he had some specific ideas on how to quickly capitalize on a new-and-improved approach to purifying therapeutic proteins in a more efficient fashion that would make it easier for industry partners to manufacture a more potent drug. Today, the bioengineering professor and his team at Avitide nailed down the financing that they say will take the Lebanon, NH-based biotech to profitability in the next 12 to 24 months.

Aimmune bags $160M IPO as the market continues to embrace biotech

With an FDA breakthrough therapy designation in hand and a product on the threshold of a pivotal Phase III study, Brisbane, CA-based Aimmune Therapeutics has scooped up a $160 million windfall from its IPO, joining a long string of successful biotech market debuts this year.

UPDATED: AstraZeneca buys a new immuno-oncology weapon in $510M Heptares deal

AstraZeneca has just wrapped its second immuno-oncology deal in as many days, turning to Heptares to in-license an experimental drug that promises to improve the punch of its checkpoint inhibitor durvalumab (MEDI4736). The pharma giant will hand over a $10 million upfront payment for the collaboration, with up to $500 million in development and commercialization milestones--on top of a royalty stream from any approved products.

AstraZeneca ties up with little Mirati on another PD-L1 combo trial

AstraZeneca's big MedImmune subsidiary has a new partner for its closely-watched PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor durvalumab (MEDI4736). Little Mirati Therapeutics, which is run by some high-profile cancer R&D execs, has struck a deal to pair the therapy with its HDAC inhibitor, mocetinostat, against non-small cell lung cancer.

Celgene buys into GlobeImmune's cancer immunotherapy

GlobeImmune, reeling from a costly clinical failure, secured a commitment from long-time partner Celgene to collaborate on a new cancer immunotherapy.

Cannabis patch startup pulls off a $42M IPO to fund drugs for epilepsy, pain

Pennsylvania drugmaker Zynerba Pharmaceuticals is making its way to Wall Street with some cannabis-derived treatments for central nervous system disorders, raising $42 million in an IPO.

Judge orders a halt to Alzheimer's spat as Eli Lilly chooses sides in dispute

A California judge has stepped between two top research institutions fighting over a vast Alzheimer's disease R&D program with ties to Big Pharma, ordering the study's new managers to hand it back for the time being.

Mystery solved: Star biotech team rallies behind a $36M diabetes spinout from Salk

The mystery of Ron Evans' new biotech startup has been solved. Armed with $36 million in cash from A-list venture investors and backed by a pro team recruited from Rich Heyman's Aragon/Seragon starring cancer drug startups, the prominent Salk investigator and his old buddy Heyman are coming out of stealth mode today with a new company called Metacrine.

Intec Pharma stumbles to $30M IPO as Parkinson's program fails to excite investors

Intec Pharma has raised $30 million (€28 million) in an IPO on Nasdaq. The haul is down on the most recent target--and represents a discount on its share price in Tel Aviv--but still gives Intec some money to throw at a Phase III trial of its Parkinson's disease candidate.