News

AstraZeneca to invest $100M in R&D site

AstraZeneca is pumping $100 million into its research center in Waltham, MA to boost its R&D efforts for infectious diseases and cancer research. Construction on a 132,000-square-foot facility will begin soon and the facility will open in mid-2009. The expansion will allow AstraZeneca to add 100 more researchers to the 400 it already employs at the research complex.

Since the opening of AstraZeneca R&D Boston, scientists there have discovered three potential drugs that are …

Biotech venture funding jumped in '06

A new survey of the venture capital field from Ernst & Young and Dow Jones VentureOne points to big gains for biotech, pharma and medical devices. Biotech and pharma draw $4.72 billion in venture funds last year, a 12.5 percent increase over 2005. Medical devices, meanwhile, saw investment levels jump 20 percent to $2.63 billion. Overall investing jumped to $25.75 billion, the highest level since 2001.

"I think 2006 proved that the U.S. venture capital industry has entered a …

PharmAthene to go public through merger

PharmAthene is going public through a merger with Health Acquisition Corp. PharmAthene shareholders will gain 52 percent of the shares in the combined company, which will continue under the PharmAthene name. The company will have about $70 million once the deal closes, which will be used to fund new product development, R&D and clinical trials. PharmAthene has been developing new antidotes for biodefense programs. The boards of both companies have signed off on the deal.

"We …

Wyeth expects provisional OK for Pristiq

Wyeth is signaling that the FDA is likely to extend tentative approval for Pristiq, an antidepressant, but that the agency is likely to ask for more data. The drug is a derivative of Effexor, a blockbuster that will lose patent protection in 2010. Ultimately, though, analysts believe that Pristiq's biggest potential may be for treating menopause. Antidepressants have proven effective in treating the symptoms of hot flashes without posing the risks now linked to hormone replacement …

SPOTLIGHT: Cell Therapeutics makes bid to buy DOR

Shares of DOR BioPharma soared on Friday afternoon after the company announced it had received an unsolicited buyout offer from Cell Therapeutics. CTI offered to issue 29 million shares to complete the deal, valuing the offer at $50 million. DOR, though, says it has to resolve a letter of intent on a partnership deal for its lead program with Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals before it can consider …

ALSO NOTED: NitroMed names new CEO; Drug cuts tumors' metabolic rate; and much more...

> Chutes & Ladders: NitroMed has named Kenneth Bate as its new CEO. Release

> Researchers say that updated data from an early-stage trial shows that IPI-504--being developed by Infinity Pharmaceuticals and Medimmune--cut the metabolic rate of tumors. Report

> The FDA has granted Chelsea Therapeutics orphan drug …

Press Release: Pharmos Announces Clinical Data from Phase 2a Trial of Cannabinor for Capsaicin-induced Pain

Press Release: Pharmos Announces Clinical Data from Phase 2a Trial of Cannabinor for Capsaicin-induced Pain

Press Release: Claros Diagnostics Secures $7.8M Series A Financing

Press Release: Claros Diagnostics Secures $7.8M Series A Financing

Press Release: Scotland Moves Another Step Closer to Global Leadership in Stem Cell Research

Press Release: Scotland Moves Another Step Closer to Global Leadership in Stem Cell Research

Press Release: Scotland Moves Another Step Closer to Global Leadership in Stem Cell Research

Press Release: Scotland Moves Another Step Closer to Global Leadership in Stem Cell Research

Press Release: S-1 Oral Anticancer Agent Improves Patients' Survival In Adjuvant Gastric Cancer Trial

Press Release: S-1 Oral Anticancer Agent Improves Patients' Survival In Adjuvant Gastric Cancer Trial

Press Release: General Electric To Acquire Abbott Laboratories's In Vitro And Point-Of-Care Diagnostics Businesses For $8.13B

Press Release: General Electric To Acquire Abbott Laboratories's In Vitro And Point-Of-Care Diagnostics Businesses For $8.13B

Press Release: Elbion Acquires Late-Stage Product Candidate For Treatment Of Alcohol Dependence

Press Release: Elbion Acquires Late-Stage Product Candidate For Treatment Of Alcohol Dependence

Sanofi presents positive data on cancer drug

Sanofi-Aventis has presented data from a late stage trial of its S-1 stomach cancer drug which showed a significant drop in the risk of death from early stage gastric cancer cases when compared to patients who were treated only with surgery. S-1, which Sanofi-Aventis is developing with Japan's Taiho Pharmaceutical, reduced the risk of death by 32 percent. Fewer than six percent of the patients taking the drug experienced side effects. Overall survival at 3 years was 80.5 percent for …

Abbott deal puts focus squarely on pharma

There's a lot of buzz being generated by Abbott Laboratories' deal to sell a big part of its diagnostics business to GE for more than $8 billion. That deal leaves Abbott much more focused on the pharmaceutical end of the business. One particularly interesting nugget from Avery Johnson's report in the Wall Street Journal: Abbott has developed its own software program to evaluate the risk and potential returns of each new research project it undertakes. Abbott is likely to need all …

Cellartis outlines $19M stem cells research pact

Scotland has agreed to help fund a three-year program mounted by Sweden's Cellartis to automate the production of human stem cells for research. Cellartis also announced a $19 million collaboration pact with ITI Life Sciences and the University of Glasgow.

"Life science research in Scotland, particularly in the stem cell area, is recognized internationally," says Mats Lundwall, CEO of Cellartis. "And by establishing a research base in Scotland, we hope to contribute to the growth …

Pharmos pain drug fails in Phase II

Shares of Pharmos dropped this morning after researchers announced that a mid-stage trial of its experimental therapy for intravenous pain failed to hit its primary endpoint. The trial studied the response of 24 patients to cannabinor. A separate test for relieving pain associated with molar dental extractions will continue. "While we are disappointed that cannabinor did not show efficacy in this pain model, we have a newly developed oral formulation of cannabinor targeting chronic …

Claros gains $7.8M in first round of venture finance

Claros Diagnostics has garnered $7.8 million in its first round of financing, with much of the money earmarked for the development of its handheld diagnostic testing system. The round was led by Oxford Bioscience Partners with additional investments coming from Bioventures Investors, Accelerated Technologies Partners, and Commons Capital. Claros says its diagnostic device will enable a physician to analyze a blood sample within the time it takes for a regular office visit.

- here's the release for more information

SPOTLIGHT: Drug makers delaying generics


With lawmakers poised to consider new legislation on generic drugs, the FTC has concluded that the drug industry is increasingly paying generic drugmakers to stop them from rolling out cheap knockoffs. Half of the 28 patent litigation settlements struck in the year leading up to Sept. 30 included such a pact. The Senate Judiciary Committee has begun an investigation into the payments, which two appeals court decisions concluded were legal in 2005. Report

ALSO NOTED: Elbion acquires drug candidates; Vanda looks to raise $96M;and much more...

> Belgium's Elbion NV has acquired some late-stage drug candidates from DrugAbuse Sciences. Two of the therapies are sustained-release forms of currently approved drug. Naltrexone Depot, an antagonist that blocks receptors in the brain and is used in the treatment of opiate and alcohol abuse, is expected to head into Phase III this year. Buprenorphine Depot, a sustained release buprenorphine indicated for the treatment of opiate addiction, is also included in the portfolio. No …