News

SPOTLIGHT: Wal-Mart slashing generic prices

Wal-Mart is starting a pilot program in Florida to sell a 30-day supply of any of 291 generic drugs for $4. And it's promising to expand the program around the country next year in a move that will likely put even greater pricing pressure on the generic sector. The average cost of a 30-day supply of generics now costs roughly $10 to $30. Report

VC: Anthera gets $36M in VC


Anthera gets $36M in VC

ALSO NOTED: Nucryst drug fails trial; Dr. Bugg to retire from Biocryst; Pozen shares jump; and much more...

> Nucryst Pharmaceuticals announced that a mid-stage trial of its topical cream for dermatitis did not achieve its goal, according to a preliminary review of the data. The company plans to continue to study other uses of the drug. Report

> Chutes & Ladders: BioCryst Pharmaceuticals announced that Charles E. Bugg, Ph.D., the company's chairman, CEO and co-founder, has informed …

Editor's Corner


I'd like to thank everyone who joined us yesterday on our Fierce Live! Webinar: "A Fierce Look at Venture Capital Trends in Biotech." We had a great panel of speakers, over 450 registrants and a lively Q&A session. If you'd like to listen to a …

AstraZeneca to continue ambitious deal-making

AstraZeneca development director John Patterson put the spotlight on the importance of R&D during the FT Global Pharma and Biotech conference in London, but he made it clear that in-licensing would drive a swelling portion of the company's future drug work. Patterson estimated that in four years, 20 to 30 percent of the company's development portfolio will have been in-licensed. AstraZeneca has been hungry for new deals recently, …

Rumor Mill: Mayne Pharma may be takeover target

Shares of Australia's Mayne Pharma are on the rise following hot rumors that it's about to become the subject of a takeover bid. Two generic drug outfits, Hospira and Teva, have been suggested as possible bidders. But other analysts are speculating that the rumors are being triggered by a possible bid by Mayne for another company. Spun out last year from the Mayne Group, Mayne Pharma has been posting losses while boasting of its new drug candidates. 

- here's the …

Analysts raise doubts on Erbitux ruling

The reverberations over yesterday's decision to award ownership of the key Erbitux patent to two Israeli scientists continues to shake ImClone. The company has reportedly developed a three-prong strategy to fight back against the decision, with options to appeal as well as seek a license for the drug from Yeda Research & Development, the Weizmann Institute's deal-making arm. Analysts, …

Belgian start-up garners $15M in VC

Belgian start-up ActoGenix has raised $15 million in venture capital. The transaction was co-led by GIMV and Life Sciences Partners, with Biotech Fund Flanders also participating. ActoGeniX is a spin-off from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology and Ghent University and was founded last June with seed capital from GIMV, VIB and individuals of the management team. It's a platform company, with drug research based on TopAct, a "delivery system comprising living …

Investors anxious to see Eschenbach confirmed

A group of biotech investors in Silicon Valley tell the San Jose Business Journal that the confirmation of Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach as head of the FDA could trigger a new era at the agency, offering a clear path to agency approvals and an upsurge in new drugs. There's the usual litany about agency missteps, including the Vioxx debacle, followed by endorsements of Eschenbach's knowledge of science and the confidence he enjoys in the biotech world. If nothing else, the drug …

SPOTLIGHT: FDA OKs eczema foam

The FDA has approved Connetics' Verdeso, a foam therapy for mild to moderate eczema. Connetics says it will start marketing the treatment in the fourth quarter of this year. Report

C&L: Management changes at Neurocrine

San Diego-based Neurocrine Biosciences says that finance chief Paul W. Hawran is retiring. VP Timothy P. Coughlin will take the position in a transfer scheduled for the first quarter of next year. Kevin C. Gorman was named operating chief.

Targanta Therapeutics has named Mark Leuchtenberger

ALSO NOTED: Procognia, Teva to collaborate; FDA questions Trasylol; and much more...

> In a new collaboration deal, the UK's Procognia will give Teva access to its proprietary glycoanalysis technology as the cooperate on the development of two drug candidates. Teva will fund the work and pay an unspecified set of milestones. Report

> FDA staffers are questioning the deaths and allergic reactions seen in the testing of Bayer's heart surgery drug Trasylol. …

ImClone, Sanofi lose patent dispute

A judge has ruled against ImClone and Sanofi-Aventis in a patent dispute between the companies and researchers from Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science. The sides were at odds over who owned a patent that inhibits the growth of tumor cells--a key patent in the development of the prostate cancer drug Erbitux. Yeda Research and Development Company, the licensing arm of the Weizmann Institute, filed suit in 2003, alleging that three researchers hadn't been given credit when the patent for …

Addex lands $32M in third round

Addex Pharmaceuticals, a developer of drugs for Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders, has landed $32 million in its third round of venture capital. GSK's venture capital division SR One led the round. Additional investors included the Roche Venture Fund, Sofinnova Partners, Index Ventures, TVM Capital, PolyTechnos Venture-Partners, Bio*One Capital, Renaissance PME and Varuma. This brings the company's venture capital total to $81 million since 2002. The funding will be used to develop …

Organon, Schering end male contraceptive deal

Akzo Nobel's NV arm Organon and Schering have announced that they will discontinue their collaboration on the development of a male hormonal contraceptive. In a press release, Organon and Schering noted that while their work together was constructive, they "came to the conclusion that the administration route investigated in the trial, which combined an annual implant with three-monthly injections, would unlikely result in a product that would be acceptable for widespread everyday use." …

Prism receives $68M in funding

King of Prussia, PA-based Prism Pharmaceuticals has received up to $68 million in capital from Paul Capital Partners' Paul Royalty Fund and Essex Woodlands Health Ventures Fund VI. Prism garnered $23 million up front through the sale of preferred stock to both Paul Capital and Essex. The company could get an additional $45 million if it reaches certain milestones. According to Warren Cooper, President and CEO of Prism, the funding will be used to help the company license products in …

Legislation could clear way for biosimilars

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that several developments in Congress could make biosimilars--generic versions of biotech drugs--a reality in the U.S. Biotech companies have long resisted the...

SPOTLIGHT: Court dismisses lawsuit on Wyeth's Prempro


A Little Rock, AR district court has dismissed the first Prempro lawsuit to make it to trial. The lawsuits relate to the use of Wyeth's Prempro, a hormone replacement therapy that many menopausal women used until it was discovered that the drug was linked to a 24 percent increase in breast cancer. There are still 5,000 lawsuits against the company remaining. Report

ALSO NOTED: Pepscan Systems raises $9M in second round; Opexa starts Phase II Tovaxin study; and much more...

> Netherlands-based Pepscan Systems, a peptide based immunotherapy company, announced today that it has raised $9 million in a second financing round by issuance of equity to a group of Dutch investors. Release

> Chutes & Ladders: Dr. Jim A. Wright will step down as the President and CEO of Lorus Therapeutics on September 21st. …