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TheStreet Open House

Cel-Sci's South Africa Partner a Mystery

VIENNA, Va. ( TheStreet) -- The company picked by Cel-Sci Corp. (CVM) to market its cancer drug Multikine in South Africa was incorporated just days before the deal was announced in March and appears to have no business address or history of engaging in drug development or marketing.

On March 6, Cel-Sci granted an exclusive license to Byron Biopharma to market and distribute Multikine -- an experimental drug that has yet to begin a pivotal, phase III clinical trial -- in South Africa.

As part of this marketing partnership, Byron Biopharma was allowed to defer a license payment for Multikine. Cel-Sci also sold deeply discounted stock to Byron that has already net the latter company more than $7 million in investment profits on paper.

"This agreement is consistent with our strategy to license Multikine in the emerging markets to share the expenses of bringing Multikine to market. We are working on additional agreements around the world," said Cel-Sci CEO Geert Kersten, in a statement that highlighted the agreement at that time.

Cel-Sci did not respond to questions for this article.

Multikine is a cancer immunotherapy, or cancer "vaccine," that Cel-Sci has been developing since the late 1980s. The company recently raised money from investors to help fund a phase III study in head and neck cancer patients, although the company has not provided a specific start date for the trial.

Cel-Sci issued a press release on March 9 to announce the Multikine deal with Byron Biopharma for South Africa, but the release didn't provide any details about Byron, didn't recount the company's experience selling drugs, especially overseas, and didn't include a quote from a Byron executive.

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