SEATTLE, June 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Cell Therapeutics, Inc. ("CTI") (NASDAQ and MTA: CTIC), announced today that it has completed its acquisition gaining world-wide rights to S*BIO Pte Ltd.'s ("S*BIO") pacritinib. Pacritinib is a highly selective oral JAK2 (Janus Associated Kinase 2) inhibitor that demonstrated encouraging clinical activity in phase 1 and 2 clinical studies of patients with primary myelofibrosis ("MF") and MF secondary to other myeloproliferative neoplasms ("MPN"). Pacritinib has orphan drug designation in the United States and Europe for myelofibrosis.
"We believe pacritinib addresses an unmet medical need even in the post-ruxolitinib approval era for the treatment of patients with MF who have low platelet counts based on the lack of treatment emergent thrombocytopenia with pacritinib observed in phase 2 clinical trials," said James A. Bianco, M.D., Chief Executive Officer at CTI. "With the encouraging interest we have received from both the medical and investment community, we are re-prioritizing our development programs to accelerate initiation of pacritinib phase 3 clinical studies."
"We are pleased to see continuing development of drugs for the MPN patient community. The acquisition of pacritinib by CTI is proof that a robust pursuit of new treatments is ongoing for MF and related MPN's," said Robert Rosen, Chairman of the MPN Research Foundation.
"S*BIO continues to believe in the potential of this novel drug candidate and looks forward to the future progress of pacritinib development," commented Ms. Tamar Howson, S*BIO's CEO. S*BIO is a privately held biotechnology company focused on the research and clinical development of novel targeted small molecule drugs for the treatment of cancer.Under the terms of the asset purchase agreement between CTI and S*BIO, CTI made an upfront payment of $2 million in cash at signing. At closing, CTI made a final payment of $13 million in cash, along with 15,000 unregistered shares of preferred stock convertible into common stock of CTI. The asset purchase agreement also includes regulatory success- and sales-based milestone payments, as well as single digit royalties on net sales. CTI will be solely responsible for development and commercialization activities of pacritinib worldwide. About PacritinibPacritinib is an oral, once a day, tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) with dual activity against JAK2 and FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 ("FLT3"). Mutations in these kinases have been shown to be directly related to the development of a variety of blood related cancers including MPN, leukemia and lymphoma. Pacritinib has demonstrated encouraging results in phase 1 and 2 studies for patients with myelofibrosis and a phase 3 study is planned for this disease. FLT3 is a commonly mutated gene found in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients and its activating mutations have been proven to be a negative prognostic marker for clinical outcome suggesting a possible future role for treatment of AML.