Biotech billionaire Soon-Shiong picks up rights to CytRx’s troubled cancer drug
A year ago shares of CytRx $CYTR were crushed by the failure of its lone drug aldoxorubicin to beat physician’s choice in treating soft tissue sarcoma. But even as its stock languished in penny stock territory, the troubled biotech pushed forward with plans to file for an approval, working up new data and meeting with regulators at the FDA. And now, biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong is making a small wager on the LA-based biotech and its troubled cancer therapy.
Soon-Shiong’s NantCell, a subsidiary of NantWorks, invested $13 million in CytRx shares at a substantial premium, paying $1.10 a share – well above the penny price it closed at yesterday. In exchange, Soon-Shiong’s company is picking up development and commercialization rights to aldoxorubicin.
Soon-Shiong, who’s taken his own hits over the past year as reporters looked into the financial ties between his network of companies and the groups he’s contributed cash to, plans to put the drug through a variety of combo and solo studies. And as the man who made a fortune off the development and sale of Abraxane, he feels he has special insights into aldoxorubicin that will help with the research to come.
“Aldoxorubicin’s distinct profile makes it the first anthracycline to allow for continuous dosing without increasing cardiac toxicity which would be beneficial for the 17 indications for which doxorubicin is currently approved and other indications where it could provide benefit,” said Soon-Shiong in a statement. “We aim to rapidly incorporate aldoxorubicin into multiple treatment protocols for major tumor types like breast and brain cancers as well as sarcomas.”
The deal is primarily back-ended, with a package of $356 million in milestones for the CytRx team. The biotech was recently implicated in a scheme several years ago to use paid analysis to promote the company’s stock.