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a cancer immunotherapy drug and a 5 percent stake in the company. The companies will test Nektar’s NKT-214 in combinations with BMS’s two approved checkpoint inhibitors.
—Roche has spent almost the exact same amount, $1.9 billion, to buy Flatiron Health, a maker of cancer-specific electronic health records. Flatiron says it will keep its autonomy.
—The FDA approved Vertex’s combination cystic fibrosis drug ivacaftor/tezacaftor (Symdeko). The approval is the Boston company’s third for the inherited disorder and broadens the pool of patients its drugs can treat.
—Astellas said it has paid $102.5 million for Seattle’s Universal Cells, a developer of experimental stem cell therapies.
—BioXcel Therapeutics of Branford, CT, joined the IPO queue and plans to use the proceeds to test two drugs it found with artificial intelligence-based drug discovery technology.
—Celgene spinout Celularity raised $250 million that the Warren, NJ, startup will use to develop therapies derived from placenta cells to treat cancers and other diseases.
—The FDA approved a Banyan Biomarkers blood test developed to diagnose concussions. The test, which measures the levels of two proteins the brain releases after a head injury, is the first of its kind to receive an FDA nod.
—The FDA also cleared apalutamide (Erleada), the prostate cancer drug Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) acquired when it bought Aragon Pharmaceuticals in 2013. The drug is approved for patients who haven’t responded to hormone therapy but whose cancer hasn’t yet spread.
Ben Fidler, Corie Lok, and Frank Vinluan contributed to this report.
White House photo by jason goulding via Creative Commons 2.0.