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TMCNet:  Baxter and CTI enter licensing agreement to develop pacritinib

[December 03, 2013]

Baxter and CTI enter licensing agreement to develop pacritinib

Dec 03, 2013 (MarketLine via COMTEX) -- Baxter International Inc., a healthcare company, and Cell Therapeutics, Inc., or CTI, a biopharmaceutical company, have entered into an exclusive 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 US and Baxter and CTI will jointly commercialize pacritinib in the US. 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 US profits equally. Baxter will record a special pre-tax in-process R&D 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." Pacritinib is an oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) with dual activity against JAK2 and FLT3. The JAK family of enzymes is a central component in signal transduction pathways, which are critical to normal blood cell growth and development as well as inflammatory cytokine expression and immune responses. Mutations in these kinases have been shown to be directly related to the development of certain blood related cancers including myeloproliferative neoplasms, leukemia and lymphoma.

Results from earlier Phase I and II studies of pacritinib demonstrated encouraging results, including meaningful clinical benefits coupled with good tolerability among patients with advanced myelofibrosis. Based on the efficacy and tolerability profile demonstrated to date, the pivotal program for pacritinib includes two Phase III clinical trials: PERSIST-1 is studying efficacy and safety in a broad set of patients with myelofibrosis without limitations on blood platelet counts, and PERSIST-2 will evaluate efficacy and safety in patients with low platelet counts, and is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Baxter continues to expand its portfolio of branded products and R&D programs in oncology. Current products include chemotherapy agents used alone or in combination with other products to treat cancers such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, as well as anti-emetic products designed to relieve the side effects of cancer therapeutics. Recent collaborations and development programs have further expanded Baxter's footprint in hematology/oncology, building upon the company's expertise in treating patients with life-threatening medical conditions.

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