Synta CEO bolts after less than a year, leaving a biotech on the mend

Synta Pharmaceuticals CEO Anne Whitaker is stepping down after just 9 months at the helm, heading back to Big Pharma as the company trims down and rallies around its cancer candidate.

UPDATED: FDA review challenges Amgen on a questionable T-Vec study

An internal FDA review of Amgen's study of its cancer-killing virus talimogene laherparepvec (T-Vec), released Monday morning, raises red flags for this drug, presenting some thorny questions for the company's regulatory team to answer.

Celgene bags a build-to-buy biotech in $485M cancer deal

A few years after teaming up with Versant Ventures to get Stanford spinout Quanticel Pharmaceuticals off the ground, Celgene is buying the cancer-focused biotech for up to $485 million.

Biogen partner Sobi and its Boston-based CEO field a takeover bid

Sweden's Sobi, a close partner of Biogen, is in the crosshairs of a buyout bid. But the biotech isn't saying yet just who's doing the bidding.

UPDATED: Celladon shares blasted as gene therapy for heart failure bombs in PhIIb

Celladon's lead program--as well as its stock price--crashed after the biotech announced Sunday evening that its heart therapy Mydicar failed the primary and secondary endpoints in a Phase IIb trial, losing out in a full lineup of efficacy tests.

Keryx selects John Neylan for newly created CMO role

Welcome to this week's Chutes and Ladders, our roundup of hirings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word--or the bad--from your shop to Eric Sagonowsky (email) or...

Seattle Genetics is staffing up with eyes on a big year

Seattle Genetics is looking to recruit roughly 100 new workers throughout its operations, the company said, accelerating its pipeline of armed antibody candidates.

Sanofi dumps an ImmunoGen cancer drug as it scales back in oncology

Sanofi is again trimming its oncology pipeline, walking away from an armed-antibody cancer treatment licensed from ImmunoGen as it reshapes its approach to the field.

Regeneron, Alnylam help drive a $2B spike in biotech R&D spending

While many Big Pharma companies continued to whittle away at their multibillion-dollar R&D operations over the past year, laying off thousands of researchers, a group of midcap biotechs is helping to pick up the slack, according to a new report from GlobalData. And some big spenders like Regeneron and Alnylam led the way, helping drive up the group's total research spending by $2 billion, or 26%, to $9.7 billion.

Biogen blueprints a big Phase III effort for its Alzheimer's hopeful

Riding high on some promising Phase I data, Biogen has mapped out a big late-stage program for its Alzheimer's disease treatment, making a risky bet that it can reverse decades of failure in the field.

AstraZeneca lends its oncology star to Celgene and recruits Innate in a PD-L1 deal spree

AstraZeneca signed a pair of agreements centered on its most prized cancer therapy, selling a stake to the hematology experts at Celgene and buying the rights to a complementary treatment from Innate Pharma.

J&J backs Scottish incubator, Nordic Nano wraps up IPO, Biotie bags big investors and plans IPO

In this week's EuroBiotech Report, Johnson & Johnson added another outpost to the growing network of incubators to which it is affiliated. The latest site to receive the backing of J&J is run by BioCity, which is trying to turn a campus abandoned by Merck into a hotbed of Scottish life science startups. And more.

Aerie shares crushed after glaucoma therapy flops in PhIII

Two months ago Aerie Pharmaceuticals CEO Vicente Anido was boasting to Reuters that his late-stage therapy for glaucoma, Rhopressa, was on track to an approval with a clear shot at earning $1 billion a year. On Thursday evening, he was forced to mount a defense of the drug after conceding defeat in a key Phase III study and watching shares plunge 66% in a rout.

Juno and AstraZeneca pair two hot immunotherapies in new cancer study

Juno Therapeutics and AstraZeneca are joining forces to test their respective cancer treatments in tandem, combining newfangled therapies that promise to use the immune system to combat tumors.

Take two: Is Clovis Oncology a buyout target?

In the absence of an actual biotech buyout to report, speculation will have to do. Bloomberg put the spotlight on Clovis Oncology, which reportedly tried to sell itself a couple of years ago--a mention of which usually causes Clovis CEO Patrick Mahaffy's eyes to start rolling. Why Clovis?

With GSK swap behind it, Novartis scouts for $2B-$5B buyouts

A little more than a month after completing its big asset swap with GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez says he's going back to the bargaining table to look for some bolt-on buyouts in the $2 billion to $5 billion range.

Biotie bags big-name investors as it beats a path to Nasdaq

Biotie Therapies has become the latest European biotech to propose hitching its financial future to the whims of Wall Street. And the central nervous system specialist has picked up some big-name financial backers to tide it over until it is ready to list on Nasdaq.

Novartis' 'megablockbuster' heart drug LCZ696 wins another rave preview

Readying itself for what looks like a blockbuster victory lap in the cardiovascular field, Novartis has notched boasting rights for its heart drug LCZ696, gaining recognition in the U.K. as a "promising innovative medicine" that could be made available to patients ahead of formal marketing approval.

J&J backs Scottish biotech incubator at ex-Merck site

Johnson & Johnson has extended its tendrils into another biotech incubator. Having played a role in the formation of incubators in the U.S., Canada and Israel in recent years, the Big Pharma has now lent its support to an initiative to foster the development of Scottish life science startups.

Merck and Gilead square off in battle of the next-next-gen hep C combos

Early today both Gilead and Merck issued new data on their next-next-gen hepatitis C combos, demonstrating just how brutal the competition for market share is becoming while highlighting some of the boundaries that are emerging in shortening treatment regimens.