SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Ascalon International Inc., a newly established oncology drug developer, today announced an agreement for an exclusive option to license CerRx Inc's intravenous (IV) fenretinide (4-HPR) product.
Ascalon will continue its ongoing collaboration with CerRx but will assume full responsibility for development and commercialization for IV fenretinide. CerRx will receive developmental milestone payments and a share of certain sublicensee income and royalties. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"We are delighted to bring in IV fenretinide as the first formal agreement that demonstrates Ascalon's focus on developing highly promising products in a precision-based manner," said Ed Jacobs, president and CEO of Ascalon. "This offers a tremendous opportunity to develop a molecule with an advantageous new formulation, advanced skillfully thus far by CerRx, with potential to address a significant unmet need in a choice of several promising hematological and solid tumor indications."
Fenretinide is a first-in-class, synthetic vitamin-A like molecule that selectively increases ceramide content to toxic levels in cancer cells, but not in normal cells. Phase I studies using the IV formulation have already indicated significant activity in T cell lymphomas and clear potential in solid tumors such as esophageal adenocarcinoma.
"Based on its strategy, commitment and expertise we believe Ascalon to be the most experienced and positive partner capable of maximizing the potential of IV fenretinide said Barry J Maurer, MD, PhD, chief medical officer at CerRx. "We considered the possibility of a larger oncology partner but we are excited by Ascalon's plans, energy and willingness to work with us and deliver what patients need, and that's IV fenretinide on the market as quickly as possible."
Jacobs added, "This arrangement with CerRx also shows we can develop a flexible deal structure that enables the strongest opportunities to be developed optimally and ensure all parties have the best chance for success. Since starting in mid-2009, Ascalon has quickly developed a strong operational platform to achieve its goal of creating a diversified portfolio of promising oncology drugs using cutting edge development methodologies and capitalizing on the growing trend in the pharmaceutical industry for strategic outsourcing of development programs. The CerRx partnership shows we are on the right track, and this is further confirmed by the volume of dialogue we are now having with various potential product partners, large and small, and the positive discussions we are having with further investors."
About Ascalon International Inc.
Ascalon International Inc. is a privately-held, Scottsdale, Arizona-based oncology development company. The company is committed to developing products and achieving target positioning by well identified clinical development and regulatory execution, either by establishment of a joint development with the product owner or by more classical acquisition of the product. The company draws on the expertise of its strong management team, including Dr. Dan Von Hoff, and the support of its crafted set of world class partners TGen, TD2 and US Oncology. For more information about the Company visit www.ascalon.com.
CerRx is an intermediate stage, targeted anti-cancer discovery and development company based in Lubbock, Texas. For more information about the Company visit www.cerrx.com.
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. TGen is affiliated with the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.
TGen Drug Development (TD2), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. TD2 provides innovative services for oncology focused biopharmaceutical companies using a dedicated team of professionals with broad experience and understanding in drug development. TD2 is uniquely positioned to support the need for improved and accelerated development of new chemical entities (NCE's) for life-threatening diseases. TD2 uses a unique combination of experience gained through its contract research organization business, and an integrated suite of proprietary and non-proprietary tools, preclinical study execution, regulatory affairs assistance, clinical trial design and management, and drug development experts to successfully move therapeutics towards regulatory approval. TD2 is dedicated to reducing the risks and uncertainty inherent in the drug development process. For more information, visit www.td2.org.
About US Oncology
US Oncology, Inc. is the nation's leading integrated oncology company. By uniting the largest community-based cancer treatment and research network in America, US Oncology expands patient access to high-quality care and advances the science of cancer care. Headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, US Oncology is affiliated with more than 1,300 community-based oncologists, and works with patients, hospitals, payers, and the medical industry across all phases of the cancer research and delivery continuum. By promoting the use of innovative technology, clinical research, evidence-based medicine and shared best practices, US Oncology improves patient outcomes and offers a better patient experience. For more information, visit www.usoncology.com.
This news release contains forward-looking statements. These statements are not historical facts and are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results and the timing of certain events to differ materially from those set forth in or implied herein including, without limitation, risks associated with clinical development, regulatory approvals, product commercialization, intellectual property claims litigation and other risks associated with the Company's proposed activities.
SOURCE Ascalon International Inc.