UPDATED: Intent on closing a deal, AbbVie boosts its bid for Shire to $51B

Intent on nailing a big Shire buyout, this morning AbbVie boosted its premium offer by 11%, bringing the total to some $51 billion.

Versant close to capping $300M fund to foster next-gen biotechs

Versant Ventures is nearing the finish line in its quest to raise a fresh $300 million fund to finance a new wave of biotech and med tech companies. The group, which is based in Menlo Park, CA, filed papers with the SEC indicating that it has now raised all but a few million dollars for Versant Ventures V, its first new fund since the last big $500 million fund was opened for business in 2008.

Novartis' leading CAR-T cancer therapy gains breakthrough status at the FDA

The FDA has provided its special 'breakthrough' status for Novartis' closely-watched development program for a personalized CAR-T cancer therapy, promising to help speed development for engineered T cells.

Bristol-Myers' hep C combo wins Japanese OK, leading the pack

Bristol-Myers Squibb has become the first drugmaker to win regulatory approval for a combination hepatitis C treatment that doesn't require painful injections, picking up a Japanese nod for its all-oral cocktail.

J&J hands over $25M milestone for daratumumab progress

Jan van de Winkel The Danish biotech Genmab has won a $25 million milestone from its $1.1 billion collaboration deal with Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) on the CD38 antibody daratumumab. The...

Where's the U.K. outrage over AbbVie's pursuit of Shire?

When Pfizer mounted its 12-figure pursuit of the U.K.'s AstraZeneca earlier this year, local politicians went on the attack, painting the U.S. company as a bottom-line-minded raider with ill designs the nation's scientific pedigree. Now, as the American AbbVie makes a similar, if smaller-scale, attempt on the Irish-headquartered Shire, ministers, members of parliament and business leaders have been loath to take up arms.

Anti-PD-1 cancer star nivolumab wins world's first regulatory approval

The anti-PD-1 immuno-oncology drug star nivolumab has won the race to the world's first regulatory checkered flag for an approval. Ono Pharmaceutical, which picked up the Japanese rights to the drug in a collaboration deal with Medarex back in 2005, says regulators in the Asian country approved nivolumab for sale as a treatment for unresectable melanoma.

Endo, BDSI buoyed as PhIII pain drug success clears path to FDA

More than two years ago the pain specialist Endo Pharmaceuticals stepped up with a $180 million deal to license rights to BEMA Buprenorphine, a pain therapy that had been repackaged using delivery tech from BioDelivery Sciences International, even though it had just failed the primary endpoint in a critical Phase III study. Today, Endo put out the word that its gamble had paid off, saying that a new Phase III trial hit the goal line on reduction in pain compared to a placebo, putting the treatment on a path to the FDA for a marketing decision.

Essex Woodlands strides to a new $750M venture fund for biotech, healthcare

Prolific healthcare investor Essex Woodlands is well along the way toward raising a big new fund for venture and equity investing. The firm filed papers with the SEC recently stating that its partners had gathered $221.5 million of a planned $750 million fund--Esssex Woodlands Fund IX--which is expected to be the successor to its last big fund launched in 2009.

NIH readies $248M program for electroceuticals

Nature reports that the NIH will soon unveil a $248 million to develop new 'electroceuticals,' therapeutic implants that can treat disease by stimulating nerves.

UPDATED: FDA gives an early OK to lymphoma drug Beleodaq

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals has won an early nod from the FDA for belinostat, a new T-cell lymphoma drug that will be sold as Beleodaq.

Alzheimer's R&D suffers as trial failure rate hits an 'astounding' 99.6%

Jeffrey Cummings is directing one of the few early-stage studies underway on an Alzheimer's therapy. And now that he's scanned the records of, he's acutely aware of just how small his chosen field is.

Bind shares slide after Amgen walks out of $180M collaboration deal

Amgen has bowed out of a $180 million collaboration with Cambridge, MA-based Bind Therapeutics, ending work on a new therapy for solid tumors by amping up an Amgen drug with the biotech's nanoengineering technology. News of the research setback--which ends the first big pact inked for the biotech's delivery tech--took a bite out of Bind's shares, sending its stock down by more than 10%.

Former Pfizer general counsel Schulman joins Alnylam's board

Welcome to this week's Chutes and Ladders, our roundup of hirings and firings throughout the industry.

Regado takes a beating as big PhIII study faces safety review

Shares of Regado Biosciences took a nasty beating Thursday evening after the company put out the word that enrollment in its big, self-funded Phase III study of a new anticoagulant had to be put on hold so that a safety monitoring committee could check out "serious adverse events related to allergic reactions."

Small biotech advances on some big goals for Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Marc Blaustein never said it would be easy to develop a new drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. But even though he doesn't have the biggest organization, the most money or a full set of human data on key endpoints, he has been making some steady, early progress on his quest.

FDA promises a fast review for Boehringer's lung disease contender

The FDA is guaranteeing a priority review for Boehringer Ingelheim's much-watched treatment for a rare lung disease, likely speeding up the drug's path to market as the German pharma races with biotech InterMune.

Shire laments hole in EU food chain, Late-stage hit for GSK & Genmab, Lundbeck drug flunks PhIII

Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly EuroBiotech Report. With the battle for investor support in the AbbVie-Shire takeover tug of war heating up, the Ireland-headquartered biopharma has played up its European roots and rare position in the region as a mid-sized company. And more.

Nicox adds to eye-drug pipeline with $120M buyout deal for Aciex

In a deal designed to beef up its pipeline of ophthalmology drugs, France's Nicox has snapped up Boston-based Aciex for $65 million in newly issued shares and up to $55 million in contingent value rights. Those CVRs are structured to pay off Aciex's investors in large part based on the success of Aciex's drug AC-170, which has been in Phase III studies for allergic conjunctivitis.

Takeda's chief-in-waiting sees big M&A in the drugmaker's future

Christophe Weber is next in line for the throne at Takeda, and the former GlaxoSmithKline exec has a mind to grow the Japanese pharma through dealmaking, hoping to refill the in-transition company's pipeline and expand in emerging markets.