Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (NasdaqGS: SPPI), a biotechnology company with fully integrated commercial and drug development operations with a primary focus in hematology and oncology, today announced the Company has gained global development and commercialization rights to Ligand Pharmaceuticals’ (NASDAQ: LGND) Captisol-enabled ®, propylene glycol-free (PG-free) melphalan. Captisol-enabled melphalan is currently in a pivotal trial for use as a conditioning treatment prior to autologous stem cell transplant for patients with multiple myeloma.
Spectrum is assuming the responsibility for the ongoing pivotal clinical trial and will be responsible for filing an NDA, which is anticipated in the first half of 2014. Under the license agreement, Ligand will receive a license fee and is eligible to receive milestone payments, as well as royalties following potential commercialization.
“We are pleased to add this late-stage program to our portfolio, which includes belinostat, for which we anticipate an NDA filing mid-year, and apaziquone, for which we expect to file an NDA in 2014,” stated Rajesh C. Shrotriya, M.D., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “Captisol-enabled melphalan is designed to meet the need for a formulation of melphalan that is free of propylene glycol, which has been associated with renal and cardiac side effects. The Captisol technology may allow longer duration of administration and slower infusion rates, potentially enabling a higher dose intensity of pre-transplant chemotherapy to optimize efficacy. We look forward to rapid progress of the program.”
“We are pleased to have forged this agreement,” commented John Higgins, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ligand Pharmaceuticals. “Spectrum has an established oncology and hematology business, and this melphalan product is an ideal complement to their two commercial hematology products, ZEVALIN ® and FOLOTYN ®, including an expected high degree of commercial call overlap. Spectrum’s highly experienced, oncology-focused R&D team is committed to the efficient development of Captisol-enabled melphalan, and has established relationships with key investigators.”About Captisol-Enabled Melphalan Captisol-enabled, PG-free melphalan is a novel intravenous formulation of melphalan being investigated for the multiple myeloma transplant setting, which has been granted Orphan designation by the FDA. This formulation avoids the use of propylene glycol, which has been reported to cause renal and cardiac side effects that limit the ability to deliver higher doses of therapeutic compounds. The use of the Captisol ® technology to reformulate melphalan is anticipated to allow for longer administration durations and slower infusion rates, potentially enabling clinicians to safely achieve a higher dose intensity of pre-transplant chemotherapy. In December 2012 Ligand announced the initiation of a pivotal trial of Captisol-enabled melphalan. This multi-center trial is evaluating safety and efficacy in 60 patients, and is intended to confirm the results from an earlier Phase 2 study demonstrating that the Captisol-enabled melphalan formulation showed acceptable safety findings, and met the requirements for establishment of bioequivalence to the current commercial intravenous formulation of melphalan (sold by GlaxoSmithKline as Alkeran ® for Injection). About Multiple Myeloma and Melphalan Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell present in the bone marrow. In multiple myeloma a group of plasma cells (myeloma cells) becomes cancerous and multiplies, raising the number of plasma cells to a higher-than-normal level. There are an estimated 20,000 new cases of multiple myeloma in the United States each year, with an incidence of new cases increasing by approximately 1.7% per year.