BEVERLY, Mass., Jan. 23, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cellceutix Corporation, (OTCQB:CTIX) ("the Company"), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative therapies with dermatology, oncology, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic applications, is pleased to update shareholders following its recent monthly conference call with the three clinical sites conducting Brilacidin's Phase 2 Proof-of-Concept (PoC) study as a new treatment for ulcerative proctitis/ulcerative proctosigmoiditis (UP/UPS), limited forms of ulcerative colitis (UC).

Site investigators report enthusiastic feedback from patients currently receiving treatment in the second cohort with Brilacidin at 100 mg daily (by retention enema) for six weeks —comments included how the treatment already has greatly improved or eliminated their symptomatic complaints, daily functioning and overall quality of life.  There is significant interest by new patients wishing to participate in the third (final) cohort once enrollment opens.

All six patients in the completed first cohort were treated with 50 mg of Brilacidin, once daily for six consecutive weeks (42 days), as a retention enema. The initial data showed Brilacidin to be well-tolerated with no severe adverse events reported and no detection of measurable systemic absorption. Preliminary review of endoscopic images and video from Screening and Day 42 in patients in the first cohort showed meaningful improvements for 5 of the 6 patients, including noticeable reductions in ulceration and bleeding. Such endoscopic data reflect the ability of Brilacidin to help clear Gastrointestinal (GI) tract mucosa in patients suffering from UC. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in 2016 draft guidance for UC, has conveyed the "ideal primary efficacy assessment tool" would include an "endoscopic and histological assessment scale," in addition to a "patient-reported outcome instrument." This guidance reinforces the importance of endoscopic remission as a critical efficacy measure toward gaining drug approval.

Endoscopic assessments, pharmacokinetic profiles, as well as patient/physician-reported outcomes, collectively, suggest that, even at the lowest dosing level (50 mg), Brilacidin offers potential to deliver a clinically meaningful, safe, and expedient therapeutic response among trial participants. These are the positive signals one looks for in a Proof-of-Concept study, to attract partnering companies.  Registration trials for filing a New Drug Application (NDA) will require a final formulation and statistically powered studies with a control arm, which are not part of this PoC trial.  The Company believes that while additional clinical data are needed to further corroborate findings, should future data remain consistent across the entire trial, Brilacidin could potentially emerge as a treatment for a wide range of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) indications. Moreover, as costly biologic therapies account for approximately 10 percent of overall pharmacy spending in the U.S., the need for less expensive treatments—an attribute Brilacidin can potentially offer the marketplace due to its lower cost of production—is becoming a real economic imperative.

Leo Ehrlich, Chief Executive Officer at Cellceutix, commented, "We unequivocally believe that Brilacidin can emerge as a novel drug in treating Ulcerative Colitis and other debilitating IBD conditions, which affect millions of people worldwide. Endoscopic assessments from the first cohort are particularly telling. We excitedly anticipate finishing the next two cohorts and sharing complete trial findings in the first half of 2017. Simply put, I believe that Brilacidin shows the potential to become one of the most sought after IBD drugs."

Cellceutix looks forward to continuing to share data from the ongoing Proof-of-Concept trial and plans to present complete findings at a future Scientific Conference.

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About Brilacidin

Brilacidin is Cellceutix's lead drug candidate in its defensin mimetic franchise. Modeled after Host Defense Proteins (HDPs), the "front-line" of defense in the immune system, it is a small, non-peptidic, synthetic molecule that kills pathogens swiftly and thoroughly. Just as importantly, Brilacidin also functions in a robust immunomodulatory capacity, lessening inflammation and promoting healing. Due to its unique properties, Cellceutix is studying Brilacidin's effect on oral mucositis (under Fast Track designation) and on ulcerative proctitis/proctosigmoiditis (UP/UPS) in Phase 2 trials. Additional trials of Brilacidin are planned in other conditions, including hidradenitis suppurativa and atopic dermatitis. Brilacidin is also being developed under FDA's Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) designation as an antibacterial product for Acute Bacterial Skin and Skin Structure Infection (ABSSSI)—qualifying it for Fast Track and possible Priority FDA Review and a potential extra 5 years of United States market exclusivity upon drug approval.

Learn more here: http://www.cellceutix.com/brilacidin-1/

About UP/UPS

Ulcerative proctitis (UP), a limited type of ulcerative colitis (UC), is a mucosal inflammatory disease of unknown cause involving only the rectum. When it involves both the rectum and the distal colon, it is called Ulcerative Proctosigmoiditis (UPS). It is characterized by inflammation, redness, and ulcerations of the mucosa. The course of the disease is variable and ranges from complete resolution to easily maintained remission to chronic relapses or refractory disease. Diagnosis can occur at any point in life, with approximately 30-50 percent of patients developing more extensive UC. There is currently no cure. According to estimates provided by GlobalData, the worldwide UC market, which includes products for UP/UPS, is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 4.7 percent, from $4.2 billion in 2012 to approximately $6.6 billion by 2022.

About Cellceutix's Proof-of-Concept (PoC) UP/UPS Trial Design

This trial is being conducted in an overseas hospital/clinic setting with Brilacidin being administered with water in an enema. A foam formulation of Brilacidin for use in future studies is planned and would be expected to improve patient convenience and study results. The primary objective of Cellceutix's Proof-of-Concept (PoC) trial is to assess the frequency of clinical remission (defined using Modified Mayo Disease Activity Index [MMDAI] scoring) with Brilacidin administered per rectum by enema in patients with active UP or UPS after 6 weeks of treatment. Additional objectives include: evaluation of safety and tolerability of Brilacidin when administered per rectum; assessment of systemic exposure and/or pharmacokinetics of Brilacidin when administered per rectum; assessment of the efficacy of Brilacidin by change in MMDAI at Day 42/Week 6 and Partial MMDAI during treatment and by biomarker evaluation (from serum, feces, and rectum/sigmoid biopsy samples); evaluation of change in patient-reported quality of life (by the Short Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire); and estimation of statistical power for subsequent trial(s) in UP and UPS. The PoC trial will include 18 patients divided evenly into three cohorts. Cohort A has received 50 milligrams (mg) of Brilacidin once daily administered per rectum as a retention enema for 42 days. Dosing increases to 100 mg and 200 mg once daily for 42 days for Cohort B and Cohort C, respectively. Endoscopic evaluation of the rectum and mucosa up to 40 cm from the anal verge will be performed at screening and at the end of treatment/Day 42 (± 3 days). Per protocol, a safety committee will review safety and retention data (clinical laboratory findings, physical examination findings, vital signs, adverse events, use of concomitant medications, retention times) after 21 days of therapy for all six patients in each cohort before proceeding with initiating enrollment (dosing) into the subsequent cohort.

About CellceutixHeadquartered in Beverly, Massachusetts, Cellceutix is a publicly-traded company under the symbol "CTIX". Cellceutix is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative therapies in multiple diseases. Cellceutix believes it has a world-class portfolio of first-in-class lead drug candidates and is now advancing them toward market approval, while actively seeking strategic partnerships. Cellceutix's psoriasis drug candidate Prurisol completed a Phase 2 trial and Cellceutix recently launched a Phase 2b study. Prurisol is a small molecule that acts through immune modulation and PRINS reduction. Cellceutix's anti-cancer drug Kevetrin successfully concluded a Phase 1 clinical trial at Harvard Cancer Centers' Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Cellceutix is preparing for a Phase 2 study. In the laboratory, Kevetrin has shown to induce activation of p53, often referred to as the "Guardian Angel Gene" due to its crucial role in controlling cell mutations. Cellceutix is in a Phase 2 clinical trial with its novel compound Brilacidin-OM for the prevention of oral mucositis in patients with head and neck cancer. Brilacidin-OM, a defensin mimetic compound, has shown in an animal model to reduce the occurrence of severe ulcerative oral mucositis by more than 94% compared to placebo. Cellceutix's lead antibiotic, Brilacidin, has completed a Phase 2b trial for Acute Bacterial Skin and Skin Structure Infection, or ABSSSI. Top-line data have shown a single dose of Brilacidin to deliver comparable clinical outcomes to the FDA-approved seven-day dosing regimen of daptomycin. Brilacidin has the potential to be a single-dose therapy for certain multi-drug resistant bacteria ("superbugs"). In an ongoing Phase 2 open label Proof-of-Concept trial, favorable interim results have been observed in the first cohort of patients treated with Brilacidin for Ulcerative Proctitis/Ulcerative Proctosigmoiditis (UP/UPS), two types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Cellceutix has formed research collaborations with world-renowned research institutions in the United States and Europe, including MD Anderson Cancer Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and the University of Bologna. More information is available on the Cellceutix web site at www.cellceutix.com. Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 including statements concerning projected timelines for the initiation and completion of clinical trials, our future drug development plans, other statements regarding future product developments, including with respect to specific indications, and any other statements which are other than statements of historical fact. These statements involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause Cellceutix's actual results and experience to differ materially from anticipated results and expectations expressed in these forward looking statements. Cellceutix has in some cases identified forward-looking statements by using words such as "anticipates," "believes," "hopes," "estimates," "looks," "expects," "plans," "intends," "goal," "potential," "may," "suggest," and similar expressions. Among other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements are Cellceutix's need for, and the availability of, substantial capital in the future to fund its operations and research and development; including the amount and timing of the sale of shares of common stock to Aspire Capital; the fact that Cellceutix's compounds may not successfully complete pre-clinical or clinical testing, or be granted regulatory approval to be sold and marketed in the United States or elsewhere. A more complete description of these risk factors is included in Cellceutix's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. Cellceutix undertakes no obligation to release publicly the results of any revisions to any such forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this press release or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by applicable law or regulation.

INVESTOR AND MEDIA CONTACT:Cellceutix CorporationLeo Ehrlichinfo@cellceutix.com