Mayo Clinic's hometown wants to be a $6.5B biotech hub

Rochester, MN, home of the Mayo Clinic, is an otherwise unassuming Midwestern city, housing about 111,000 people on the Zumbro River. But the town's leaders have a plan to transform it into a global hub of biotech research and cutting-edge medical technology, approving a $6.5 billion plan that will remake Rochester over the next 20 years.

NIH slams the brakes on drug production after contamination scare

The National Institutes of Health has halted production at a plant that makes drugs for clinical trials after discovering some alarming manufacturing mishaps, a move that affects 46 ongoing studies.

FDA says Sanofi and Regeneron's cardio contender looks approvable. But for whom?

A potential blockbuster from Sanofi and Regeneron has proven its ability to slash rates of cholesterol, the FDA said, but questions remain on just how widely the treatment should be used.

Abivax tees up a $49M IPO to get its hep B shot into Phase III

Parisian biotech Abivax is in line to raise €43.6 million ($49 million) in a European IPO, earmarking its new cash to push a hepatitis B vaccine into pivotal trials and hit the gas on an HIV drug.

Regulus CEO Xanthopoulos' abrupt exit alarms investors

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...

Vertex beefs up its cystic fibrosis pipeline with $1.2B Parion R&D pact

With its cystic fibrosis combo drug awaiting a likely approval at the FDA, Vertex is beefing up its pipeline in the field, paying $80 million upfront and promising up to $1.1 billion more in milestones to partner with Parion Sciences on a new class of CF-related drugs.

FDA advisers back an approval for Sprout's twice-rejected female libido drug flibanserin

An FDA advisory committee has given Sprout Pharmaceuticals a thumbs up on its quest to gain the first approval ever for an experimental therapy designed to heighten women's sexual desire--but the panelists also want some postapproval studies to help clarify the safety issues involved.

Sanofi snags a 'breakthrough' tag for a new rare disease drug

Sanofi's rare disease-focused Genzyme picked up the FDA's coveted breakthrough-therapy designation for a candidate designed to treat a form of Niemann-Pick disease.

Opko buys up cancer diagnostics player Bio-Reference in $1.47B deal

Diagnostics player Opko Health is buying Bio-Reference Laboratories for 2.75 shares of its stock for every share of Bio-Reference.

Halozyme adds AbbVie to its roster of Big Pharma R&D collaborators

Halozyme Therapeutics' Enhanze tech platform essentially offers to take large molecules that would normally have to be delivered intravenously and make them available under the skin in a subcutaneous jab. And now AbbVie is jumping aboard, paying $23 million in an upfront and up to $130 million in milestones on each of up to 9 programs.

Genmab burns MorphoSys in CD38 MM race, NuCana enters PhIII, Active Biotech cuts R&D

In this week's EuroBiotech Report, a clutch of European biotechs released oncology trial data at ASCO. MorphoSys posted an early look at the multiple myeloma data on MOR202 everyone has been itching to see since Celgene dropped the drug. And more.

NuCana readies suite of PhIII cancer trials after rounding up mid-phase data

NuCana is set to start a Phase III trial of Acelarin in patients with pancreatic cancerthis month, kicking off a surge into late-stage studies that will see it work on ovarian and biliary programs later this year. The Sofinnova Ventures-backed biotech is initiating the multi-front advance on the strength of Phase I/II data, details of which were presented at ASCO.

Galapagos leases one-third of Sanofi-founded biopark to consolidate French R&D operations

Galapagos is moving into new digs on the outskirts of Paris. The relocation sees 130 staff move from three locations across the Biocitech campus Sanofi founded in 2002 to a newly refurbished building on the site that houses a mix of biology and chemistry laboratories.

Want to start a biotech buyout rumor? Start with a company 'like Juno'

Anyone looking for an example of just how easy it is to start a biotech buyout rumor these days need look no further than Bloomberg's report on AstraZeneca's Pascal Soriot earlier in the week.

Aveo shares jump after European advisers take down a barrier to tivo application

According to Aveo, a pair of key advisers to the European Medicines Agency has allowed that TIVO-1 may not have been the kiss of death that the FDA made it out to be two years ago. The biotech says it got a clear signal that the European agency would at least consider an application based on the data at hand.

Building Biotech 3.0: The new rules of a changing game

The Biotech 3.0 vision is what we'll be exploring at my upcoming executive breakfast during BIO's annual conference in Philadelphia.

Active Biotech axes 84% of staff in retreat from R&D

Active Biotech has dramatically stepped up its retreat from R&D. Having dropped a pair of clinical-phase assets last year, disappointing data from a Phase III trial of tasquinimod have prompted Active Biotech to take an ax to its research operation, laying off 84% of its staff in the process.

Celgene narrows pioneering CAR-T collaboration with bluebird bio, hands over $25M sweetener

Two years after Celgene dangled a selection of $225 million milestone prizes in front of bluebird bio in exchange for collaborating on a range of CAR-T cancer drug programs, the Big Biotech has narrowed its sights to a single target and chipped in a $25 million payment to move their lead candidate into the clinic soon.

Insider traders cashed in on Biogen's $320M Sangamo deal, SEC says

Back in 2013, as Sangamo Biosciences negotiated what would become a sizable partnership deal, one of the company's officers leaked the news to a longtime friend, according to the SEC, setting in motion an insider trading scheme authorities say netted more than $1.2 million.

Novartis nixes another $600M buyout deal for Gamida Cell

Novartis won't be pulling the trigger on a $600 million buyout deal for Israel's Gamida Cell after all. Elbit Imaging, the majority owner of a minority stakeholder in the stem cell player, says that the pharma giant has decided not to pursue its option on the company, but has signaled its willingness to push ahead with their collaboration.