Investors who heard Bianco spin his "Pazdur has been muzzled" story said they didn't take his boasts seriously. The hasty pixantrone withdrawal doesn't sound like FDA's top cancer drug reviewer was backing down from his previous criticisms of the drug.
Cell Therapeutics is also seeking pixantrone's approval in Europe. This fall, Bianco told investors that European regulators would make an approval decision on pixantrone in January. He also said all major questions and issues raised by European regulators about pixantrone had been answered, clearly leaving the impression that the drug was likely to be approved.
European drug regulators, however, met in January without passing judgment on pixantrone. It's not known when the drug will come up for review again, although Cell Therapeutics says it may happen when European regulators meet again Feb. 13-16.
Shares of Cell Therapeutics sank to around 70 cents after the negative pixantrone panel in March 2010. At Friday's close, shares traded for 22 cents, adjusted for the 1-for-6 reverse split in May 2011.--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.
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