Zuckerberg-Chan win some respect for $3B biomedical project; AstraZeneca shutters another US office

  • In The Pipeline blogger Derek Lowe ridiculed Microsoft’s lofty ambitions to put its software to use to cure cancer on the near horizon. But Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan got a much warmer response from the tart-tongued writer for their $3 billion stab at making some real progress in biomedical research. There’s a new hub initiative in place for the Bay Area’s big three academic centers: Stanford, UCSF and Berkeley. And a special focus on cell-cell interactions. Kudos, says Lowe: “I think that these are perfectly good things to be spending money on – half blue-sky tool project and half applied and therapy-directed.”
  • AstraZeneca has been making a lot of alterations to its U.S. operations since announcing an efficiency effort earlier in the year. This time the target is its Fort Washington, PA office, which is being shut down. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the company filed a notice with the state on the move, which affects 134 staffers. The company is offering severance to certain employees who can’t make the commute to their headquarters facility in Delaware.
  • Durham, NC-based Novan only managed to price its IPO at the low end of the range, but its stock quickly spiked 65% on the day, making this a successful debut. The biotech has a lead therapy for acne.
  • AstraZeneca is pulling an application to market cediranib for ovarian cancer.

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