Cell Therapeutics Finds a New Home

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Last Wednesday, Cell Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CTIC  ) announced that it had finally signed a manufacturing agreement with NerPharMa DS, an Italian company, for its potential drug pixantrone. That's good news for the beleaguered company.

Cell Therapeutics is developing the drug to treat patients with a certain type of aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, or NHL. Craig Philips, company president, has said, "Entering into this agreement puts us one step closer to fulfilling our mission of being able to provide pixantrone to patients with relapsed or refractory aggressive NHL."

In the meantime, Cell Therapeutics has submitted a pediatric investigation plan to the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) to try to get marketing authorization. The company plans on submitting its application later this year. Here in the U.S., it plans on starting a late-phase clinical trial after the Food and Drug Administration told the company that there were concerns about the study and safety of the drug.

Too many hurdles?
Shares of the biotech, which is based in Seattle, are actually down about 5% since the announcement. However, even if pixantrone overcomes all its hurdles, it faces some stiff competition in the NHL space. Biogen Idec (Nasdaq: BIIB  ) has the top-selling NHL drug, Rituxan (it recorded sales of $1.1 billion in 2009); in addition, there's Cephalon's (Nasdaq: CEPH  ) Treanda. Last but not least, there's Zevalin, made by Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SPPI  ) ; Cell Therapeutics used to hold a 50% stake in the company but had to sell to raise cash for operating purposes.

Just shy of 90% of those rating the company from among the 165,000-plus members of our Motley Fool CAPS community think that Cell Therapeutics will outpace the market going forward. There's no doubt that pixantrone would play a big part in the success. What do you think? How likely is Cell Therapeutics to effectively manage the last parts of the development of this new drug, and more importantly, can it survive to do so?

Sound off in the comments box below.

Jordan DiPietro doesn't own any shares mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (28)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 20, 2010, at 5:48 PM, plange01 wrote:

    the US federal drug association is in such a state of chaos nothing will get approved.its insane for any company to send it a drug for testing.ctic will do just fine with pixitrone if it sells it outside the US.

  • Report this Comment On July 20, 2010, at 10:08 PM, steven107 wrote:

    Also, the title suggests that the company was bought, merged, or changed its headquarters; or was truncated from something like this "Cell Therapeutics finds a new home for the manufacturing duties of its drug pixantrone."

    Ya'll are the kings of fake headlines to lure in the readers though, its the major gripe I have against you. The reason I came into this article is to figure out why any other company would buy this company.

  • Report this Comment On July 20, 2010, at 10:12 PM, steven107 wrote:

    My previous post got lost, i'll repost it while i'm here.

    CTIC owned 50% of a JV called RIT with Spectrum, in which CTIC placed Zevalin. The way you wrote it, it appears to state that CTIC owned 50% of company Spectrum. You may have intended to say owned 50% of the drug Zevalin.

  • Report this Comment On July 25, 2010, at 1:39 PM, Kepo19Taz52Lime wrote:

    CTIC is a bargain now. I'm betting its new drug will be soon FDA approved and then watch sales rocket. Two outsanting--best in their field--lymphoma oncologists are advising the company, and they would not waste their time on a drug that will fail. At the current price and the odds in its favor, it's tragic to miss this buy opportunity.

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