Drug Development

Shire bids CTI and its troubled myelofibrosis drug adieu, buying its way out of a deal

Jim Bianco

Jim Bianco

Shire is buying its way out of an ill-fated partnership with CTI BioPharma, which it inherited as part of the new pipeline acquired in the Baxalta buyout.

In a filing with the SEC, CTI noted that Baxalta had agreed to reimburse the biotech $10.3 million for expenses either incurred by the drug program or about to be incurred. Shire can now wash its hands of the pact and move on.

CTI $CTIC, a notorious failure in the biotech world, is still stuck in limbo.

CTI BioPharma was hammered back in February when the FDA put a full clinical hold on its myelofibrosis drug pacritinib after the death of several patients in the pivotal study. CTI—a biotech with a long and troubled history under CEO Jim Bianco—went on to post mixed data accumulated in the study, hitting one endpoint and missing another. But by that time the company’s share price had become mired in penny stock land.

So, it was no great surprise to hear recently that Shire wanted out.

Baxter paid CTI $60 million upfront — with up to $112 million in milestones — to partner on CTI’s JAK2 inhibitor pacritinib back in 2013, then handed the deal over to Baxalta in the spinout, which was followed closely by the Shire buyout. Shire gained a number of cancer drugs in the Baxalta deal, and has indicated its interest in continuing most of them.

Jim Bianco, meanwhile, recently announced his retirement from the company after burning through more than $2 billion over 25 years in a fruitless attempt turn a profit. The biotech currently has a market cap of $113 million.


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RAPS Regulatory Convergence 2017