AZ's MedImmune launches PhIII study of benralizumab; Veracyte raises $65M in IPO; Incyte touts results for JAK1 inhibitor for RA;

@FierceBiotech: Still trending: The ax drops at troubled Merck as big restructuring gets underway. Article | Follow @FierceBiotech

@JohnCFierce: We'll have some hiring news soon. but in the meantime still looking for a savvy devices writer. Also, have my eye out for a U.K. writer. | Follow @JohnCFierce

@DamianFierce: Ex-Calistoga chief Gallagher joins VC Frazier Healthcare to steer biotech bets. ICYMI yesterday | Follow @DamianFierce

@EmilyMFierce: Check out my report on 5 promising preclinical drug programs. Special report | Follow @EmilyMFierce

> AstraZeneca's ($AZN) biologics subsidiary MedImmune has launched a Phase III study of the asthma drug benralizumab, one of its top prospects in the clinic. The move marks another expansion of AstraZeneca's late-stage pipeline as it tries to counter concerns about its weak R&D record in recent years. Story

> The South San Francisco-based diagnostics company Veracyte ($VCYT)--a FierceMedicalDevices Fierce 15 company--raised $65 million in its IPO, selling 5 million shares at $13, the low end of the range. Morgan Stanley and Leerink Swann are acting as joint book-running managers for the offering. William Blair and Cowen and Company are acting as co-managers. Story

> Incyte ($INCY) is touting the results of a 60-patient study of its JAK1 inhibitor for rheumatoid arthritis. Story

Medical Device News

@FierceMedDev: New feature: Q3's top 5 diagnostics VC deals. Special report | Follow @FierceMedDev

> Kona notches solid results for novel renal denervation tech. Article

> CVRx brings in $12M more for hypertension device trial work. More

> Medtronic eyes faster FDA nod as CoreValve aces pivotal study. News

> Theragenics completes $68M sale to private equity outfit Juniper. Item

Pharma News

@FiercePharma: Tuesday's top news: Vertex to slash 370 jobs in shift away from hep C drug Incivek. Report | Follow @FiercePharma

@EricPFierce: Wockhardt profits crater as bans by FDA MHRA start to take a toll. FiercePharmaManufacturing story | Follow @EricPFierce

@CarlyHFierce: Wondering which companies will be hardest-hit by patent losses in 2014? Special report | Follow @CarlyHFierce

> Teva CEO Jeremy Levin steps down amid board squabble. More

> GSK closing plant ASAP, gives workers pay instead of notice. Article

Biomarkers News

> Hopkins team spotlights biomarkers ratio that tags presymptomatic Alzheimer's. More

> Researchers inch closer to breath test for lung cancer. Report

> Biomarker flags patient response to certain melanoma treatments. Story

> GE wins FDA approval for a second Alzheimer's imaging agent. Item

> Inova picks up rheumatoid arthritis biomarkers from Dutch university. Article

Drug Delivery News

@MichaelGFierce:  promises new frontier as  decides how to regulate. Editor's corner | Follow @MichaelGFierce

> Mesoporous delivery technique allows key compounds to aid stem cell transplant. Article

> Pulmatrix heralds early stage results for COPD dry powder tech. More

> Alnylam pushes for PhI trial of orphan hemophilia RNAi drug. Story

> Dual-surface Janus nanoparticle offers cancer diagnosis, drug delivery. Article

> Layered nanoparticles deliver RNA, chemo for one-two punch. Item

Diagnostics News

@MarkHFierce: DARPA is hard at work at a brain monitoring implant to help combat depression and other conditions. FierceMedicalDevices item | Follow @MarkHFierce

> Quest sued by Myriad in flap over BRCA test patents. Item

> Swedish team tracks down soft tissue pain with PET scanner. Story

> GE Healthcare eyes 2014 for U.S. launch of Alzheimer's imaging agent. More

> NextCODE CEO predicts rapid Dx growth with licensed deCODE sequencing tech. Story

> Johns Hopkins blood test points possible way toward early pancreatic cancer detection. Article