Upbeat review of PhII DMD trial earns Prosensa a big boost to shares

After the markets closed last night, Prosensa issued an upbeat self-assessment of its 48-week extension data from a Phase II study of its lead drug drisapersen for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Report: Novartis circles a deal to buy Gamida Cell in $600M deal

Israel's Globes is reporting that Novartis is pursuing a deal to buy out Israel's Gamida Cell for "hundreds of millions" of dollars upfront and hundreds of millions more in milestones, adding up to a total of about $600 million.

Biogen gambles on a $17M Atlas biotech launch, buyout option in hand

Biogen Idec is partnering with Atlas Venture on a biotech launch, with the Big Biotech investing in the company, helping on R&D and taking an option to scoop up the entire package at the end of Phase I.

Amgen goes 6-for-6 in Phase III, leading the race for a new cardio blockbuster

Amgen's promising cardio drug aced its 6th late-stage study, the company said, beating out statins in patients with a cholesterol-boosting genetic disorder and widening the drugmaker's lead in a potentially lucrative new field.

Bristol-Myers inks a $650M deal to pair with Five Prime on immuno-oncology gold rush

Bristol-Myers Squibb, a leader in the race to develop new immuno-oncology therapies, is pairing up with Five Prime Therapeutics to come up with a second set of cancer therapies that target two undisclosed immune checkpoint pathways in a deal worth up to $350 million.

Informa purges Elsevier unit staff in wake of buyout

Just a few months after Informa swooped in to buy out Elsevier Business Intelligence and plug it into its own operations, word is spreading that the company purged the staff last week.

Intercept scores a PhIII win for lead drug following Friday night frights

On Friday night Intercept Pharmaceuticals managed to rattle investors with a 10-K filing flagging a collection of serious cardiac adverse events recorded in a study of its lead drug OCA. But come Sunday morning, the biotech balanced out that bitter taste with an announcement that its Phase III trial had ended with positive data, setting up a regulatory filing for approval.

Chimerix started the week as a punching bag, then pulls off a TKO

Chimerix will evidently have no trouble finding the 20 patients it is recruiting for the pilot study of its antiviral brincidofovir. And it still isn't willing to provide its therapy under the FDA's "compassionate use" regulations.

Amgen's viral cancer vaccine T-Vec tackles melanoma tumors in PhIII

A new round of late-stage data on Amgen's cancer-fighting viral vaccine talimogene laherparepvec, better known as T-Vec, found that about two-thirds of the tumors injected with T-Vec shrank 50% or more. And the same effect was seen in about a third of all uninjected tumors in the skin and lymph nodes, providing an indication that the treatment is triggering the desired immune system effect.

Idenix takes to Europe with its Gilead patent spat

Idenix Pharmaceuticals believes Gilead Sciences violated its patents with the blockbuster-selling hepatitis C pill Sovaldi, and the biotech has expanded its legal fight into Europe, angling for a cut of sales.

Chelsea Therapeutics and the return of pharma's phantom checkbook

Chelsea Therapeutics saw its shares soar roughly 15% on Thursday thanks to rumors that it could be in line for a Big Pharma buyout. But a deeper look at the issue reveals neither market-wide chatter nor unnamed-source speculation; just a single analyst reading of tea leaves, leading to what could be yet another disparity between smoke and fire in the biopharma M&A world.

A who's-that of biotechs snags $119M as the IPO market thunders on

Thanks to a prolonged public appetite for life sciences companies, the little-known Ignyta, Dipexium Pharmaceuticals and Galmed Pharmaceuticals have banked a combined $119 million to fund their top prospects.

Amgen names Piacquad senior VP of business development

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)...

Is Europe due for a biotech boom all its own?

With London biotech Circassia clearing about $332 million in a record-breaking U.K. IPO, a spate of other European life sciences outfits sit stage left with eyes on the public markets, stoking hopes that the stateside fervor over drug developers could cross the ocean and line their pockets.

U.K. joins the 'breakthrough' bandwagon with new fast-track program

After months of lobbying and speculation, the U.K. has unveiled its Early Access to Medicines Scheme, a program that will allow patients with serious diseases to get potentially lifesaving drugs before they're approved.

Time, distance and the new world of online business news

Last night I was a guest lecturer at an MIT class of biomedical PhD candidates. One of the professors had asked me to come and provide my take on covering biotech news, and I took it on for largely selfish reasons.

With $25M in the bank, French startup sets its sights on sepsis

France's Inotrem is working up a novel approach to the global scourge of sepsis, and now, thanks to some high-profile investors, the biotech has $25 million to take its immunotherapy from the benchtop to the clinic.

Galapagos ships out its CRO biz for $179M to focus on R&D

Belgian biotech Galapagos is getting out of the CRO business, selling off its two contract units to preclinical giant Charles River Laboratories for $179 million and planning to put the proceeds into its pipeline.

Vectura bags respiratory biotech Activaero for $181M

U.K. drugmaker Vectura has signed a deal to absorb Germany's Activaero and its pipeline of airway treatments for €130 million ($181 million), betting the biotech's respiratory candidates can more than make up for the price tag.

Sage snags $38M from A-list VCs to bankroll its seizure drugs

Cambridge, MA's Sage Therapeutics has hauled in a $38 million Series C, convincing a who's-who of biotech investors to pitch in as it pushes forward with a portfolio of central nervous system treatments.