Back in January of 2012, Third Rock's upstart epigenetics play Constellation Pharmaceuticals landed a three-year deal with a marquee development partner. Genentech agreed to step in, provided a cash commitment of $95 million to cover part of the Cambridge, MA-based biotech's R&D overhead, and added an option to buy the company. Now the collaboration part of the deal is complete, and on Friday the biotech quietly laid off 23 staffers as it sketched out a path that would allow it to go it alone--if Genentech doesn't acquire the company by its deadline later this year.
Having given a $60 million boost to 23andMe last week, Genentech has now turned to J. Craig Venter's Human Longevity for help sequencing and analyzing tens of thousands of genomes.
23andMe's strategy of selling its database of genetic data to Big Pharma companies continues to bear fruit. The Google-backed company is sharing data about the DNA of 650,000 individuals with Pfizer to help that company in its R&D efforts.
Genentech has given 23andMe a major boost. The big biotech has reportedly paid $10 million upfront and agreed to $50 million in milestones to access 23andMe's database for target discovery of new drugs for Parkinson's disease.
Consumer-oriented genetic testing company 23andMe's up to $60 million partnership to provide Big Pharma company Genentech with access to information on about 3,000 Parkinson's patients illustrates the value of diagnostic companies' genetic information.
After shunning public attention for more than a year, cancer immunotherapy startup Flexus Biosciences is ready for the limelight now that it is headed toward the clinic, has banked its first two venture rounds totaling $38 million and boasts impressive management, board and advisory rosters.
Roche's Lucentis may now have a bigger jump on Eylea in diabetic retinopathy. The Swiss drugmaker's Genentech unit won the FDA's "breakthrough" designation for that indication on Monday. And Lucentis was already on the FDA's priority review track, with a decision date in February.
Having shepherded Genentech's R&D operations through the takeover by Roche, Richard Scheller will retire at the end of 2014. Roche has lined up Michael Varney, Genentech's head of small molecule drug discovery, to replace Scheller.
The flu season's most common viral strain has mutated, meaning this year's shots may not fully protect against it. But the so-called "drifted" strain may open up an opportunity for antiviral makers like Roche's Genentech and GlaxoSmithKline, with the CDC urging earlier use of anti-flu drugs to combat potentially severe symptoms.
How did Genentech persuade physicians to switch from $50-a-dose Avastin to $2000-a-dose Lucentis? According to The New York Times, consultation payments may have had something to do with it.