Biotechs queue up for $269M in fresh IPOs amid a sector rebound

Four more drug developers are angling to make Wall Street debuts, lining up to raise a combined $269 million as the market for biotech IPOs has shown renewed signs of life after a tepid spring.

Mersana grabs a $792M ADC development pact with Merck KGaA

Mersana Therapeutics has inked another antibody-drug conjugate development pact, this time with the R&D team at Merck KGaA in Germany.

EY: R&D budgets soar as cash-laden biotechs spend big on research

While the world's biopharma players are still working to solve the problem of R&D productivity, they're hardly being stingy in the process. R&D spending across the industry leapt 14% last year, according to EY, a sharp rebound reflecting renewed optimism among drug developers and their investors.

Biotech star Bosley takes the helm at Editas

Well-known biotech entrepreneur Katrine Bosley--noted for orchestrating the $925 million deal to sell Avila Therapeutics to Celgene--is taking the helm at one of the hottest new biotechs in the biz.

Merck targets Alzheimer's in $526M collaboration on new cognitive treatment

Last summer, Bionomics struck a $172 million discovery deal on new pain meds with Merck. And now the pharma giant has come back to the bargaining table to bag a much bigger collaboration with the Adelaide, Australia-based biotech, paying $20 million upfront and promising up to $506 million in milestones to collaborate on a new Alzheimer's drug.

Vertex: Breakthrough cystic fibrosis combo clears PhIII hurdle, heads to FDA

Cutting loose from the hepatitis C market, Vertex bet the house on its late-stage trials for a breakthrough combination cystic fibrosis drug. And today the biotech reported that it won that blockbuster gamble, coming up with pivotal Phase III proof of efficacy that will be quickly hustled to regulatory groups in the U.S. around the world in the expectation of reaching a potentially megablockbuster market.

Shire makes a $10B promise in hopes of shaking AbbVie

After dismissing three escalating takeover bids from AbbVie as too cheap, Shire is promising to double its annual sales by 2020, touting its pipeline as a blockbuster farm best tended without outside meddling.

Beaten by rivals, Boehringer surrenders in hep C contest

Left far behind in the race to develop cutting-edge drugs for hepatitis C, Boehringer Ingelheim says it is getting out of the field and washing its hands of its lead therapy, faldepravir.

FDA review red-flags AstraZeneca's case for ovarian cancer drug olaparib

AstraZeneca's reconstructed case for the cancer drug olaparib is built on the fundamental premise that the new management team at the pharma giant is a whole lot smarter than the old crew. After a retrospective analysis found a subgroup response in the data for ovarian cancer, CEO Pascal Soriot not only ordered the team to renew its pursuit of an approval, he later assigned a $2 billion peak sales value to the program.

Gelesis declares a weight-loss victory, but a critic pans new therapy

The Boston-based biotech Gelesis has a pair of high-profile godfathers from the research world, a fresh $12 million venture round and an intriguing new approach to treating obesity that steers clear of the brain-targeting chemicals now struggling to gain traction on the market. But the new data put out this morning fell flat with at least one of the experts in the weight-loss field.

Roche partners with Versant on a new build-to-sell biotech on MS

Roche has turned to its incubation partners at Versant Venture's Inception Sciences to create a virtual biotech which will set out to spawn new therapies that can repair the damaged nerves of patients with multiple sclerosis.

Dimension leaps into gene therapy action with $252M Bayer deal, $30M round

Over the past 7 months, Dimension Therapeutics has been moving fast to take its place among a new wave of gene therapy developers looking to revolutionize the way some diseases are treated.

John Carroll wins the European Mediscience 'Commentator of the Year' award

I am pleased to announce FierceBiotech's own Editor-in-Chief John Carroll has won the award for "Commentator of the Year" from the European Mediscience Awards in London on June 19,...

Ex-Takeda execs bemoan reign of 'foreigners'

Takeda, Japan's largest drugmaker, has gone through a series of reorganizations in its efforts to take a bigger share of the global market, a process that has included recruiting leadership outside of its native country. That's not sitting very well with some former executives.

Isis is in the spotlight--and maybe crosshairs--after gene breakthrough

Antisense specialist Isis Pharmaceuticals has made it all the way to mid-stage trials with ISIS-APOCIII, targeting patients with a rare ailment that leads to dangerously high triglycerides. But that candidate is looking all the more promising in light of two major studies linking its target to reduced rates of heart attack, saddling the biotech with a potential blockbuster.

Bristol-Myers toes the next hep C frontier: a four-week cure

Gilead Sciences' Sovaldi has broken sales records thanks to its ability to cure hepatitis C with an effective, if costly, 12-week regimen. But rivals believe there's plenty of room in the market for a speedier solution, and Bristol-Myers Squibb plans to use its ex-partner's blockbuster to craft a four-week contender.

After three strikes, Sanofi gives up on Merrimack's cancer drug

Sanofi is breaking it off with oncology partner Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, handing back full rights to MM-121, a treatment that has three times failed to hit the mark in midstage studies.

Kite Pharma rides the CAR-T current to a $128M IPO

Biotech upstart Kite Pharma made its Wall Street debut Friday, pulling off an upsized IPO on the strength of investor fervor over a novel, headline-making approach to treating cancer.

Teva chairman Frost will leave by the end of the year

Welcome to this week's Chutes and Ladders, our roundup of hirings and firings throughout the industry. Please send the good word--or the bad--from your shop to Michael Gibney (email | Twitter)...

AbbVie and Shire square off over a spurned $46B buyout offer

AbbVie announced late Thursday night that it had made three passes at Shire in recent weeks, bumping its nonbinding offer to $78.87 a share in cash and stock and getting turned down at each attempt.