Mundipharma picks up a PhIII-ready chemo creation in $250M deal

A small, virtual German biotech called CellAct Pharma has struck a licensing deal for their sole clinical-stage cancer therapy. The partners are staying mum about the details, but it includes a package of milestones and a “double-digit” upfront that total $250 million.

The Dortmund, Germany-based CellAct turned up at ASCO last summer with collective Phase I and II data on 39 patients, which they say demonstrated an ability to rein in tumor growth among patients with drug-resistant biliary tract cancer.  The therapy, CAP7.1, is a prodrug which converts into the chemotherapy etoposide in target tissues, possibly offering an alternative approach to treating end-stage disease from solid tumors.

Historical averages can offer an imprecise look at relative efficacy, but the researchers here say they tracked a 40% survival rate after a year of therapy with the experimental drug compared to an expected 20% for this patient population.

A subsidiary of Munidpharma, EDO, says it will now reformulate this drug for manufacturing and take it into a pivotal Phase III.

CellAct CEO Nalân Utku said: “The proven expertise of Mundipharma in medicines development and their commercial capabilities will enable the potential for CAP7.1 to help patients in this underserved disease area.  This alliance will also provide a valuable exit for our investors Peppermint VC and NRW Bank who have been supporting this program for many years.”

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