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Cancer treatment candidates from Tampa biotech firm advance

Tuesday, March 17, 2015   (0 Comments)
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Cancer treatment candidates from Tampa biotech firm advance


A Tampa biotech has a deal to develop potential drug therapies for a difficult-to-treat type of breast cancer and for a type of cancer that forms in white blood cells.   


The drug candidates from Oxis Biotech are targeted at the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer and multiple myeloma. Triple-negative breast cancer, which does not respond to many therapies currently available, affects about 23,000 to 46,000 newly diagnosed patients every year, including younger people, African Americans or Hispanics and those with a certain type of gene mutation. Multiple myeloma, which causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow, affects about 26,850 people annually in the United States.


Under a licensing and development agreement Oxis signed with MultiCell Immunotherapeutics Inc., MultiCell will create three novel antibody-drug conjugates using MultiCell's proprietary platform technology. Antibody-drug conjugates, or ADCs, are a new class of highly potent biopharmaceutical drugs designed as a targeted therapy for cancer.


Oxis paid MultiCell a license fee of $500,000 and will reimburse MultiCell up to $1.125 million for development costs to make the three ADCs exclusively licensed to Oxis, a statement said. If all clinical development milestones are achieved and manufacturing rights to the three ADCs are purchased, Oxis will pay MultiCell an additional $22.75 million and a royalty of 3 percent of net yearly worldwide sales after marketing approval.


In its own statement, MultiCell gave an idea of the potential size of the market, saying sales of breast cancer drugs are projected to increase in nine major world markets from $9.8 billion in 2013 to $18.2 billion by 2023. The world market for multiple myeloma therapies will reach $11.5 billion in 2017, according to MultiCell, a majority owned subsidiary of MultiCell Technologies Inc. (OTC: MCET).   


Oxis, a subsidiary of Oxis International Inc. (OTC: OXIS), is a newcomer to Tampa. Oxis International previously was based in Beverly Hills, Calif., according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It changed its address to Tampa after bringing in a new chairman and CEO, Anthony Cataldo, and Steven Weldon, chief financial officer. Cataldo is a former CEO of Lion Biotechnologies Inc. (OTCBB: LBIO), a Los Angeles company that has leased space at University of South Florida Research Park, where it will work to develop cancer therapies in a deal with Moffitt Cancer Center.   


Dr. James Mule, executive vice president at Moffitt, joined the Oxis Biotech scientific advisory board  in January. Dr. Lisa Haile, co-chair of the Global Life Science Sector at DLA Piper, also serves on the board.


Oxis Biotech separately said it has sold just over $2 million in equity and debt to seven investors as part of a $3 million capital raise. Additional details beyond those in a filing with the SEC were not immediately available.   


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