This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Cell Therapeutics Juggles Chainsaws To Distract Investors From Its Dead-End Course

SEATTLE (TheStreet) -- Cell Therapeutics (CTIC) CEO Jim Bianco threw another chainsaw into his reckless juggling act Thursday. Investors should avert their eyes, unless they enjoy the sight of inevitable severed limbs.

In Bianco latest act of daring-do, Cell Therapeutics is shelling out $15 million to Singapore's S*Bio to license the myelofibrosis drug pacritinib. That doesn't seem like a lot of money for a drug supposedly ready to enter phase III trials, except pacritinib, formerly known as SB1518, was thrown away by Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX) last year.

Why did Onyx license pacritinib from S*Bio and then give the drug back? Perhaps it was the phase II data in myelofibrosis presented last year, which showed lackluster efficacy (worse than similar drugs from Incyte (NVS) and YM BioSciences (YMI)) and alarming rates of diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

After that performance most people thought pacritinib was dead, but never under-estimate Bianco's appetite for acquiring junky cancer drugs. Bianco needs a pipeline so Cell Therapeutics can continue to sell stock, raise money and finance his lavish lifestyle. It doesn't really matter if the drugs bought by Cell Therapeutics work or not because helping cancer patients has never been the company's chief concern.

Once you understand Cell Therapeutics' strategy, Thursday's announcement about the pacritinib deal makes perfect sense. Similarly, Cell Therapeutics licensed the leukemia drug tosedostat from Chroma Pharma last year and continues the charade of "developing" Opaxio and brostallicin for various cancer indications.

Meantime, there was no mention by Bianco Thursday about when the company planned to resubmit its lymphoma drug pixantrone for approval with the FDA. Recall, Cell Therapeutics yanked the pixantrone filing in late January because the company was just too darn busy to prepare for an advisory panel meeting.

Pixantrone, also known as Pixuvri, is supposed to be approved in Europe, except it's not yet. European regulators recommended the drug's approval two months ago but have yet to follow through and actually issue a formal decision. Despite assurances that Pixuvri will be approved soon, Cell Therapeutics has said almost nothing about how it plans to sell the drug in Europe.

You'd think Bianco would be eager to discuss plans to sell a drug and finally start generating real revenue. But then, selling a drug costs money; selling a lackluster drug like Pixuvri in Europe will be a burden and largely unsuccessful.

Which again, brings us back to pacritinib -- not as much a new drug opportunity as a way to divert investors' attention from the company's next dilutive financing. Yes, Cell Therapeutics must sell more stock soon because the company only has enough cash to keep paying Bianco's salary through the end of the current quarter, according to regulatory filings.

Summer yachting season is starting and Bianco needs to get paid.

--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Adam Feuerstein.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/adamfeuerstein.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,098.45 +18.88 0.11%
S&P 500 2,003.37 +6.63 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,580.2710 +22.5760 0.50%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs