Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX) and Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (CTI) (NASDAQ and MTA: CTIC) today jointly announced that they have entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement to develop and commercialize pacritinib. Pacritinib is a novel investigational JAK2/FLT3 inhibitor with activity against genetic mutations linked to myelofibrosis, leukemia and certain solid tumors. Pacritinib is currently in Phase III development for patients with myelofibrosis, a chronic malignant bone marrow disorder.
Under the terms of the agreement, Baxter gains exclusive commercialization rights for all indications for pacritinib outside the United States and Baxter and CTI will jointly commercialize pacritinib in the United States. Baxter will make an upfront payment of $60 million, which includes an equity investment in CTI of $30 million. In addition, CTI is eligible to receive clinical, regulatory, and commercial launch milestone payments of up to $112 million, $40 million of which relates to clinical milestones that may be achieved in 2014. Assuming regulatory approval and commercial launch, CTI may receive additional sales milestone payments. CTI will receive royalties on net sales of pacritinib in ex-US markets, and the companies will share U.S. profits equally. Baxter will record a special pre-tax in-process research and development charge in the fourth quarter of 2013 of approximately $30 million.
''The collaboration will complement Baxter’s existing oncology business and growing oncology pipeline, and will leverage our global commercialization capacity to extend the availability of pacritinib, which we believe has the potential to address a significant unmet medical need,'' said Ludwig Hantson, Ph.D., President of Baxter BioScience. ''As an established leader in hematology and rare diseases, we are committed to advancing novel therapies in an effort to broaden patient access to care.''
''We believe Baxter represents the ideal strategic partner to achieve the full potential of pacritinib,'' said James A. Bianco, M.D., President and CEO of CTI. ''Our two companies share a dedication to oncology and a vision for bringing this unique oral JAK2/FLT3 inhibitor to patients with certain blood cancers and solid tumors. This collaboration will provide additional financial resources and commercial expertise to position us to pursue the development, commercialization and market potential of pacritinib.''