Spotlight On... Aduro offers $7.5M to fuel UC Berkeley's immunotherapy research effort; Stat report skewers Verily chief Andrew Conrad; FDA rejects orphan exclusivity for Eagle Pharma's bendamustine; and more...

Berkeley, CA-based Aduro is handing over $7.5 million to UC Berkeley for a 3-year program to investigate a new class of immunotherapeutics called cyclic dinucleotides as well as natural killer (NK) cells. Their work will cover cancer as well as infectious diseases and there's an option to extend the pact by an additional three years. "We're increasingly finding that immune stimulants associated with disease-causing microbes work as cancer therapies, and conversely, that immunotherapies for cancer may have application in fighting infectious disease," said IVRI director David Raulet, a professor and co-chair of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. "Bringing infectious disease and cancer researchers together in a synergistic research effort at UC Berkeley and Aduro Biotech is an exciting and unique idea, and could be where the next generation of therapies will come from." Release

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> An in-depth report from Stat skewers Verily (Google's life sciences upstart) chief Andrew Conrad, who's described as a "divisive and impulsive leader whose practices are driving off top talent and leaving openings for competitors." Stat

> Shares of Eagle Pharmaceuticals ($EGRX) slid about 8% this morning after the Woodcliff Lake, NJ-based biotech announced that the FDA had spurned its request for 7 years of orphan drug exclusivity in the U.S., for BENDEKA (bendamustine hydrochloride injection, or bendamustine HCI). Eagle says the decision was "incorrect." The drug was approved late last year for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and for the treatment of patients with indolent B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Release

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