News Article

Cell Therapeutics: progress with lymphoma Drug
Date: Sep 24, 2012
Author: Saabira Chaudhuri
Source: MarketWatch ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: CTI BioPharma Corp of Seattle, WA

Cell Therapeutics Inc. CTIC -5.36% said a study of its drug for patients with relapsed lymphoma has yielded positive results.

The phase 1 study of Cell Therapeutics' highly selective oral JAK2 inhibitor pacritinib showed encouraging anti-tumor activity and good tolerability in 34 patients with relapsed or refractory lymphoma.

"This phase 1 study suggests the potential therapeutic value of targeting the JAK2 pathway in lymphomas with encouraging single agent activity demonstrated despite the extensive degree of prior therapy and refractory nature of the disease among the patients who were enrolled in this trial," noted Chief Medical Officer Steven E. Benner.

Pacritinib is an oral, once a day, tyrosine kinase inhibitor that works against mutations in kinases that are directly related to the development of a variety of blood-related cancers including Myeloproliferative disorders, leukemia and lymphoma. The drug company noted that pacritinib has demonstrated encouraging results in phase 1 and 2 studies for patients with myelofibrosis and a phase 3 study is planned in this disease.

Lymphoma is a cancer of the white blood cells, namely lymphocytes, which constitute the lymphatic system. Lymphoma occurs when lymphocytes grow abnormally. The two main types of lymphoma are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The study reported Monday enrolled 35 patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin's or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Patients had relapsed following a median of five prior therapies.

The results of the latest study come after Cell Therapeutics in May won conditional authorization to market Pixvuri--its treatment for non-Hodgkin B-cell lymphomas--in the European Union.

The approval represented a victory for Cell Therapeutics, which in January had to withdraw Pixvuri's new drug application in the U.S. The drug maker said the delay would give it more time to prepare for a second U.S. Food and Drug Administration committee review.

Last year, an FDA panel unanimously rejected Pixvuri, saying there wasn't enough clinical evidence to show the drug worked.

Shares closed at $2.72 Friday and were inactive premarket. The stock has fallen 53% so far this year.