The latest business and financial biotech news. In this issue: 1) Adherex Buys Back GSK's Rights to Failed Cancer Drug 2) Archemix and Merck Partner on Aptamer-Based Cancer Therapeutics 3) CEL-SCI Receives $15 Million Commitment for Cancer Drug Manufacturing Facility 4) Genentech and Seattle Genetics Ink Deal Potentially Worth $860 Million 5) Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Launches $1-Billion Campaign
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The A-Z Business Wire
Adherex Buys Back GSK’s Rights to Failed Cancer Drug
dherex Technologies Inc. purchased all GlaxoSmithKline’s options related to failed cancer drug Eniluracil. The announcement of this deal on January 18 amended a development and license agreement signed on July 14, 2005.
“Today’s agreement brings the development and commercialization of eniluracil under our control and provides the flexibility
for Adherex to develop the product alone or to collaborate or partner with other parties as we feel most appropriate,” said William P. Peters, MD, PhD, chairman and CEO.
Eniluracil is being developed to improve the therapeutic value of chemotherapy 5-fluorouracil by making it orally active, with fewer side effects and potentially more effective. According to Adherex, Eniluracil failed in GSK’s phase III trials because of a dose- and schedule-dependent drug interaction that resulted in ineffective activation of 5-FU. Adherex will owe an upfront fee of $1 million upon closing around March 1 and development and sales milestone payments and sales royalties.
Archemix and Merck Partner on Aptamer-Based Cancer Therapeutics
rchemix and Merck KGaA signed a multiyear, multitarget agreement that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class aptamer-based therapeutics to treat cancer.
“Archemix is the leader in the field of aptamers, a new class of drugs that has tremendous potential in the battle against cancer,” Bernhard Kirschbaum, executive senior VP and director of research for newly-formed Merck Serono noted in a January 17 press release. According to the transaction, Archemix will receive an upfront payment.
Merck KGaA will provide research funding of approximately $10 million. Additionally, Archemix could receive milestones and royalties for any product commercialized. The company also may participate in the co-promotion of such products.
“This alliance is the fourth major partnership we have formed over the past six months,” Errol De Souza, PhD, president and CEO of Archemix, commented, “and is consistent with our strategy to enable partners to leverage aptamers as drugs on
a target-by-target basis.”
CEL-SCI Receives $15 Million Commitment for Cancer Drug Manufacturing Facility
ioProperties, Inc. will acquire and build out to CEL-SCI’s specifications a turn-key CGMP drug manufacturing facility for its cancer candidate, according to a letter of intent signed on January 22. CEL-SCI’s Multikine® was recently approved to enter phase III trials.
“We will be able to produce our drug Multikine in our own CGMP facility for phase III trials as well as for sale once marketing approval is granted,” explained Geert Kersten, CEO of CEL-SCI. “An additional benefit of having this facility is that, during the phase III study, it may also be used for contract manufacturing work with other biotech companies and/or the U.S. government
since it will contain a clean cold-fill suite.”
BioProperties, a privately held real estate firm specialized in the biomedical sector, committed $15 million. The facility is expected to cost about $12 - 14 million, which will be paid through a long-term lease agreement.
Genentech and Seattle Genetics Ink Deal Potentially Worth $860 Million
enentech and Seattle Genetics, Inc. will together develop and commercialize SGN-40, a humanized monoclonal antibody currently in phase I and phase II trials for multiple myeloma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Under the terms of the exclusive worldwide license agreement, reported on January 8, Seattle Genetics will receive an
upfront payment of $60 million. The company stands to earn milestone payments exceeding $800 million, including $20 million
in the first two years, plus escalating double-digit royalties on annual net sales.
Genentech will fund future research, development, manufacturing and commercialization costs of SGN-40 that targets the
CD40 antigen. Seattle Genetics will continue certain phase I and phase II trials and development activities and also retains US
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Launches $1-Billion Campaign
ana-Farber Cancer Institute is campaigning to raise $1 billion for cancer research. This marks the biggest fundraising campaign in its history and the largest ever hospital-based campaign in New England. The money from the program, Mission Possible: The Dana-Farber Campaign to Conquer Cancer, will go toward accelerating the pace of cancer research, translating such advances into therapies, and expanding the Institute’s ability to provide appropriate care to more people.
The institute reports that Mission Possible: The Dana-Farber Campaign to Conquer Cancer began its quiet phase in October 2003. With $544 million in its pocket, the campaign is already more than 50% of the way toward achieving its goal.
“This is an unprecedented time in scientific discovery, and nowhere is this more true than in the field of cancer research and care,” said Edward J. Benz Jr., MD, Dana-Farber president. “Improved methods for preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer have resulted in fewer people dying from cancer today. But we need to do better, and we can. With the necessary resources, we can build on our longstanding expertise in cancer care and research and convert this new knowledge into better treatments, and, ultimately, cures for cancer.”
It is estimated there will be nearly 600,000 cancer-related deaths in the United States this year and that more than 1.4 million people will be diagnosed with cancer, according to the Institute. The rate of new cancer cases is expected to grow as the U.S. population is aging. Yet, more people are surviving their cancer or are living longer with it.
The Institute believes that there is thus a greater demand for targeted treatments and expanded cancer care facilities, as well as more extensive clinical, psycho-social and support services to address short- and long-term effects of a patient’s cancer care.
Recent advances have led to the use of tailored therapies to attack a growing number of cancers at the molecular level. Dr. Benz points out, however, that such personalized treatments remain the exception and not the rule and he believes Dana-Farber is can change this.
Mission Possible: The Dana-Farber Campaign to Conquer Cancer will provide its scientists with the tools to aid in the discovery of the genetic and molecular roots of cancer. Such an understanding, they believe, could lead to less toxic customized treatments. It could also lead to better diagnostic techniques for early-stage cancers.
Dana-Farber will use the support from the campaign for four areas: $450 million for research and care; $100 million for technology; $150 million for construction of an outpatient facility, the Center for Cancer Care; and $300 million for the Jimmy Fund and unrestricted funds that will support the most pressing needs and promising developments at Dana-Farber.