New CEO tapped to run armed-antibody biotech Actinium

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Jack Talley joins Antinium after resigning from his post as CEO and president of EpiCept.

Veteran biotech exec Jack Talley has stepped into the top job at Actinium Pharmaceuticals, a low-profile developer which has been pursuing a lengthy effort to develop an armed antibody that can be used to fight blood cancers.

New York-based Actinium is headed into mid-stage studies for a program that attaches isotopes which emit alpha particles to antibodies. And the biotech, which has largely been flying under the industry radar until now, believes it is positioned to raise a new round of $15 million to $20 million and go public through a reverse merger.

"The technology originated with David Scheinberg at Memorial Sloan-Kettering," Talley tells FierceBiotech. The investigator has been working for years attaching radioactive isotopes to specific antibodies, a twist on the antibody-drug conjugates that have become a hot property in the industry. And Actinium recently in-licensed another program--BC8--from the prestigious Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. 

New funding would push one of its programs through a Phase I/II study in AML and set the stage for a pivotal trial next year. "The intent is to go to the FDA in 2013 and propose a pivotal scale trial," says Talley. 

Talley has headed a couple of other companies, including Penwest, where he was president. He is stepping away from the helm at EpiCept, which had been struggling since the FDA rejected its application for a new treatment for acute myeloid leukemia in 2010, even though it had been approved in Europe. EpiCept sold its rights to Ceplene to Meda AB and dramatically reduced its R&D budget. EpiCept has also been developing the pain treatment AmiKet for peripheral neuropathy and announced some months ago that it was pursuing strategic alternatives, which include a possible sale.

- here's the press release

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