News

ALSO NOTED: Santhera IPO raises $71M; FDA approves NovaDel's NitroMist; Adventrx selling shares; and much more...

> Santhera's IPO raised $71 million (88.5 million Swiss Francs) after shares began trading today. Report

> The FDA has approved NovaDel's NitroMist for angina. Par Pharmaceuticals holds the North American rights to the drug. "The …

InterMune inks major collaboration with Roche

InterMune will gain a $60 million up front fee from Roche on closing a deal to develop InterMune's experimental therapy for hepatitis C. Roche is also funding two thirds of the research costs of the HCV protease inhibitor ITMN-191. "Assuming the successful development and commercialization of ITMN-191 in the (United States) and other countries, InterMune …

Adverse events force delay in Exelixis trial

Exelixis says it will delay new enrollment for a clinical trial of the cardiovascular drug XL999 for up to three months after about 10 percent of the patients in the study experienced severe adverse cardiovascular events. Patients with no reported toxicity will continue in the study. Twelve of the 117 patients enrolled in the study experienced adverse events. But Exelixis emphasized that 115 of the 131 volunteers now enrolled in the study had experienced no adverse effects and would …

Takeda scraps licensing deals, inks $100M pact

Takeda has scrapped plans to develop TAK-128 for diabetic neuropathy and canceled its licensing pact with Mitsubishi after a mid-stage trial failed to demonstrate significant efficacy. And, as expected, Takeda also canceled a pact with BioNumerik Pharmaceuticals for Tavocept for the Japanese market. Takeda canceled …

Acquisition deals in biotech keep getting richer

The post-deal analysis on Merck's acquisition of Sirna for $1.1 billion, which includes a hefty premium for stockholders, left analysts somewhat agog over the numbers. And with that kind of money on the table for RNAi technology--which holds huge promise but is still years away from commercialization--other players in the field like …

New biotech arrival gains $10M in venture funds

Fresh from announcing the move of its headquarters from France to Waltham, MA, EyeGate Pharma says it has garnered $10 million in its second round of venture financing. Innoven Partenaires and Ventech, both based in Paris, led the round. EyeGate is researching new drug/device therapies for macular degeneration and other eye diseases.

"At our new operations in Waltham, MA, we are already setting up the necessary infrastructure and developing a top-notch veteran R&D team with …

SPOTLIGHT: Gladstone inks Merck pact


The J. David Gladstone Institutes announced it will receive $3.25 million up front and unspecified milestone payments from Merck after signing a collaboration and licensing pact for the research and development of drugs to treat neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, that are linked to apoE-regulated mechanisms in the body. The institute also gains new research funds. Release

VC: NovImmune garners $46M in second round


NovImmune garners $46M in second round

ALSO NOTED: Allergan buying Groupe Corneal; GSK agrees to pay $63M settlement; and much more...

> Irvine, CA-based Allergan is buying France's Groupe Corneal Laboratoires for $216 million in cash. Allergan, which makes Botox, plans to separate the French companies' aesthetic and ophthalmic business with an eye to selling the ophthalmic division. Allergan also reported an increase in third quarter revenue due largely to the sale of products from the Inamed buyout. …

Roche's Tamiflu ads spark criticism

If Roche has its way, a gaggle of happy penguins will charm consumers into stocking up on flu drug Tamiflu. Using penguin characters from a current children's feature as a theme, Roche Pharmaceuticals has developed a multi-million dollar ad campaign to create demand for the costly medication. Tamiflu, which has attracted international attention as a possible stopgap in the war against bird flu, is designed to slow flu progression and minimize symptoms.

Reseachers grow liver from stem cells

Using stem cells taken from umbilical cords, British scientists revealed that they have for the first time managed to grow a miniature liver which can be used for drug testing.

India ramps up biotech funding

Buoyed by increasing interest in running clinical trials abroad, Indai’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is putting $1 million toward the establishment of clinical research training centers in order to ensure high quality of research.

Data suggests torcetrapib raises blood pressure

New trial data demonstrates that Pfizer's cholesterol drug torcetrapib in combination with Lipitor increases blood pressure, according to a report in The New York Times. News of the serious side effect forced the company's stock down by two percent. Torcetrapib is designed to increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol, and Pfizer has designated it as a major drug candidate for the company. Pfizer badly needs …

Delays forecasted for blockbuster obesity drug

A senior executive at Sanofi-Aventis told analysts that he couldn't give a timeline for the introduction of its blockbuster anti-obesity drug Acomplia in the U.S., raising doubts about exactly when it could be approved. Executive Vice President Hanspeter Spek said that the FDA was not requiring new trials for Acomplia but that he couldn't say if the drug would be ready for the U.S. market in six months. Earlier, Sanofi had told analysts that FDA approval could come by the end of this …

FAES inks $89M licensing deal on allergy drug

Inspire Pharmaceuticals has agreed to pay Spain's FAES Farma $7 million up front and up to $82 million in milestone payments for the U.S. and Canadian licensing rights to bilastine. The drug is currently in Phase III for allergic rhinitis, a seasonal allergic reaction that includes runny nose. Faes will also receive royalties on sales.

"Based on the clinical profile to date, we believe that the oral formulations of …

PSA study points to diagnosis, treatment methods

Researchers have concluded that prostate cancer is more threatening when a man's PSA level has been rising rapidly in the years prior to diagnosis. The study points the way to an earlier diagnosis and treatment of the most aggressive forms of prostate cancer. It also could allow a better understanding of which prostate cancer victims with a slow growth form of prostate cancer should be monitored. Researchers say men should get a "baseline" PSA reading at age 40.

"This is a test …

Biogen Idec considering sale of cancer drug

Biogen Idec touted significant growth in its third quarter income and said it is evaluating "strategic options" for its older cancer drug Zevalin that includes a possible sale of the therapy. The growth in revenue--from $596 million a year ago to $703 million this past quarter--was due largely to the return of Tysabri and …

SPOTLIGHT: Bradley wins FDA OK


Bradley Pharmaceuticals has been notified by MediGene that MediGene received FDA approval to market Polyphenon E Ointment, 15 percent, a new drug indicated for the treatment of external genital and perianal warts. Report

C&L: Cell Genesys COO Vallner resigns

Cell Genesys announced that Joseph J. Vallner, Ph.D., the company's president and COO, has resigned to become the CFO of an early-stage, private biotechnology company.

Le@p Technology has named Dr. Donald J. Ciappenelli as CEO and chairman.

Access Genetics has named industry veteran …

ALSO NOTED: India funds training centers; Memory gains milestone;and much more...

> India is funding clinical research training centers around the country to help spur the country's involvement in drug research. Report

> Memory Pharmaceuticals has received a $2 million milestone for MEM 3454. Release

> VWR International has established a wholly owned subsidiary in Bangalore, India. …