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Pasbion News

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Takeda spins off cancer assets to incubated startup  

A team of ex-Takeda scientists has struck out on its own with cancer assets licensed from the drugmaker. The resulting biotech, Chordia Therapeutics, starts life with multiple oncology drugs, lab space at a Takeda site and funding from the Japanese firm and a VC syndicate.

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FDA lifts second trial hold for Prescient’s lead drug, with one to go

Slowly but surely, Australia’s Prescient Therapeutics is getting its lead cancer program back on track, with two of three trials subject to an FDA clinical hold now cleared to resume.

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Khondrion gears up for pivotal mitochondrial disease trial after taking an early look at midphase data

Khondrion is preparing to advance mitochondrial disease program KH176 into phase 3. The vote of confidence in the drug follows an early look at phase 2 data on the intracellular redox-modulating agent.

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Toxicity knocks Ardelyx's hyperkalemia hopes back to preclinic

Unexpected side effects have spelled the end for Ardelyx’s drug candidate to treat elevated potassium levels in the blood, which was in phase 3 testing.

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Cytokinetics cans lead drug after phase 3 ALS wipeout

Cytokinetics has stopped development of its lead drug. The San Francisco-based biotech made the decision after tirasemtiv failed to beat placebo against the primary endpoint or any of the secondary goals in a study of more than 700 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

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Step Pharma bags cash for CTPS1 autoimmune R&D drive

Step Pharma has closed a €14.5 million ($17.0 million) series A round. The financing equips the lean French biotech to prepare its CTPS1 inhibitors for clinical testing in autoimmune disorders.

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DBV climbs as peanut allergy safety data come in clean

DBV Technologies has posted phase 3 data suggesting safety and compliance are unlikely to scuttle its hopes of winning approval of peanut allergy treatment Viaskin Peanut. Shares in DBV rose on the back of the data, going a little way toward erasing the big drop it suffered after missing its primary efficacy endpoint.

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Acorda dumps $363M Parkinson’s drug after patient deaths

Acorda Therapeutics is scrapping its Parkinson’s disease drug tozadenant following patient deaths in its phase 3 trial. The action marks the end for an oral adenosine A2a receptor antagonist Acorda paid $363 million in cash for last year.

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Biotech veteran Julian Adams takes top job at Gamida Cell

Novartis-backed biotech Gamida Cell has named Julian Adams, Ph.D.—its current chair and chief scientific officer of Clal Biotech—as its new CEO.

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After penning Loxo deal, Bayer signs another $1B R&D pact

Bayer has signed a new and potentially major research pact with Japan’s PeptiDream, marking the second big biobucks deal of its kind for the German pharma in the past week.

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Pentagon will not decide on battlefield drug/device approvals

Controversial plans to allow the Pentagon to approve drugs and medical devices intended for use by soldiers have been set aside in the latest version of a bill approved this week by the House of Representatives.

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Building on Cures Act, FDA lays out cell therapy fast track in regenerative medicine framework

The FDA has created a policy framework for cellular therapies and other regenerative medicines by releasing two draft and two final guidance documents. Publication of the texts builds on the 21st Century Cures Act by setting criteria for the new Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy designation and outlining the benefits of the regulatory status.

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Editing genes with a more precise alternative to CRISPR

The gene editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 corrects genetic abnormalities by breaking two DNA strands and then inserting healthy genes or eliminating unhealthy ones. A Yale team has developed an alternative gene-editing technology that they say replaces CRISPR’s “hacksaw” effect with a more precise “scalpel.”

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Newly discovered ‘molecular guardian’ keeps cholesterol in check

Harvard University scientists have found the missing piece in our understanding of how cells regulate cholesterol levels. This "molecular guardian," which senses and responds to high cholesterol, could be a new target for drug development.

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Cue Biopharma in $374M-plus Merck immunotherapy pact

After raising $26 million at the start of the year, cancer and autoimmune startup Cue Biopharma has ended the year with a potentially lucrative new deal with Merck.

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Alnylam starts rolling FDA filing for patisiran

Alnylam has kicked off a rolling FDA filing for its RNAi drug patisiran. The gene silencing pioneer expects to complete the submission by the end of the year, setting it up to win approval in the U.S. in 2018.

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Evelo taps Mayo Clinic expertise for therapeutic bacteria programs

Evelo Biosciences has just forged closer ties with a heavyweight academic partner for its monoclonal microbials R&D, which envisages using bacteria to fight disease.

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X4, nearing late-phase trials of ex-Sanofi drug, raises $27M

X4 Pharmaceuticals has raised $27 million to advance a CXCR4 inhibitor it picked up from Sanofi. The series B equips X4 to move deeper into the clinic on two fronts, with phase 2 and 3 trials in cancers and rare diseases on the horizon.

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In conversation with: Alice Zhang, CEO of Verge Genomics

Alice Zhang co-founded Verge Genomics to create a scalable drug discovery engine that automates the discovery of cures across therapeutic areas. Currently focused on neurodegenerative diseases, instead of targeting only one gene at a time, Verge uses machine learning to map out the hundreds of genes that cause a disease.

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Harnessing immunotherapy to reverse Type 1 diabetes

In patients with Type 1 diabetes, T cells in the immune system attack islet cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital have come up with a way to thwart this wayward autoimmune reaction using a protein that plays a prominent role in cancer immunotherapies: PD-L1.

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Germano lands spot on The Medicines Company’s board

The Medicines Company has tweaked its board, bringing former Pfizer executive Geno Germano in as an independent director and expanding Fred Eshelman’s role. Germano takes up the position 8 months after a shift in focus at Intrexon led him to give up the president post at the synthetic biology company.

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Acorda slumps on safety fears for Parkinson’s drug tozadenant

Shares in Acorda Therapeutics are on the slide following the news that the company’s Parkinson’s drug tozadenant has been linked to a serious and potentially fatal side effect.

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Turnstone Biologics nabs Bristol-Myers R&D executive as new research chief

Fierce 15 winner Turnstone Biologics has poached Mike Burgess, MBChB, Ph.D., from Bristol-Myers Squibb to be its new head of R&D. Burgess, who had been at BMS as its SVP, head of exploratory clinical and translational research since 2013, has jumped ship to the early-stage startup, which is focused on reviving the fortunes of research into oncolytic viruses and cancer vaccines.

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Genentech doubles down on Arvinas, swelling deal to $650M

Genentech has doubled the size of its alliance with Arvinas, moving the potential value of the pact up above $650 million. The expansion of the deal gives the Roche subsidiary the chance to use Arvinas’ protein degradation technology against additional disease targets.

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Sanofi, Novo back rare disease startup Inozyme in $49M round

Using tech licensed from Yale University and with a string of biopharma executives and Big Pharma venture backers, Inozyme Pharma has emerged from stealth with $49 million and a mission.

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PASBION HEALTHCARE INC

1747 S. Douglass Road, Suite C

Anaheim, California 92806

714.231.9876