Cell Therapeutics Regains Rights to Two In-Development Cancer Medicines


Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTIC) has reached a deal with Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) to reacquire rights to two different cancer-fighting compounds, pixantrone and paclitaxel poliglumex (PIXUVRI and Opaxio, respectively), according to MarketWatch.

In the previous agreement between the two companies, Cell Therapeutics was responsible for the development and commercialization of the two compounds, but will now regain full, unencumbered rights to the two drugs previously held by Novartis. Novartis and CTI have agreed that Novartis will receive potential payments based on the sales of Opaxio and PIXUVRI, as well as payments on any sublicense. President and CEO of CTI, James A. Bianco said of the acquisition that, “We are pleased that Novartis and CTI were able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement regarding rights to PIXUVRI and Opaxio,” in a statement, via the MarketWatch.

He went on to describe the merits of each of the compounds, which were developed for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, “Regaining full rights to these two anti-cancer agents — one currently marketed in Europe and the other completing late-stage development – provides us with the flexibility to manage these assets within the context of our overall product portfolio strategy” Bianco said, “We believe these drugs could have an important impact in the treatment of patients with cancer,” he continued.

In May of 2012, the European Union granted conditional marketing authorization to PIXUVRI for treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in patients who’ve had multiple relapses or who’s cancer is refractory. CTI is currently gathering patients for a phase III trial of the drug which will compare the medicine to other drugs,¬†according to a press release via MarketWatch.

Opaxio is an investigation chemotherapy drug; it’s a biologically-enhanced drug that combines paclitaxel with a biodegradable polymer. The new chemical entity is tumor-selective, targeting their “leaky” blood vessels and thereby sparing normal tissue cells unnecessary exposure to high levels of paclitaxel’s toxicities.

CTI is a Seattle-based biopharmaceutical company that focuses primarily on the development and commercialization of oncology medicines that help to make cancer more treatable.