Burnished at Vanderbilt, old drug program revived at Cumberland

An experimental drug that wound its way through a number of mid-stage cardiovascular studies at Bristol-Myers Squibb only to be donated to Vanderbilt University has now landed back in the hands of a biotech company with a new target and revived hopes. Nashville, TN-based Cumberland Pharmaceuticals ($CPIX) says it acquired the rights to ifetroban after Vanderbilt investigators were able to discover fresh promise for the drug and put it back in clinical development as a niche product.

Cumberland says that it has now dubbed the drug Hepatoren, and is using a mid-stage trial to determine the drug's potential as a treatment for Hepatorenal Syndrome, a life-threatening condition involving progressive kidney failure. Approximately 450,000 patients in the United States suffer from medical conditions that make them susceptible to cirrhosis and a subset of these patients develop HRS every year, according to Cumberland. Hepatoren is a thromboxane receptor antagonist and Cumberland plans to obtain an orphan drug indication.

"This new product is an excellent strategic fit for our company given our established presence in hospital acute care," said A.J. Kazimi, the CEO of Cumberland Pharmaceuticals. "CET was created in conjunction with Vanderbilt University to serve as a source of innovative new biopharmaceutical products, and the ifetroban program represents a milestone for that organization. Cumberland Pharmaceuticals is extremely pleased to have another opportunity to provide a potential new solution to address an unmet medical need for critically ill patients."

- read the Cumberland release
- and check out the story from Reuters