-- Investment Further Expands Oncology Pipeline --
JERUSALEM, Sep 13, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- -- Investment Follows Positive Phase II Results in Lymphoma --
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. /quotes/zigman/64731/quotes/nls/teva TEVA -0.08% announced today its decision to exercise its option to make an additional $19 million investment in CureTech Ltd., and to finance up to $50 million of the company's R&D program. Teva's decision follows the positive final results from a phase II trial in diffuse large B-Cell lymphoma (DLBCL) using CT-011, an investigational anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody. The study met its primary end point and results showed significant improvement in both the overall survival and the progression-free-survival of the patients.
Under the terms of the recently amended agreements between Teva, CureTech, and its shareholders, Teva's investment will bring its holdings in CureTech to 75%. Teva holds the option to reach full ownership of CureTech.
"We are excited at this opportunity to continue working with CureTech on the development of CT-011. We believe CT-011 has great potential to help many currently unserved cancer patients," said Dr. Aharon Schwartz, Head of Teva's Innovative Ventures. "This investment is part of Teva's strategy to expand our branded activities into specialty therapeutic areas, such as oncology."
Commenting on the phase II results, Dr. Leo Gordon, Director of the Lymphoma Program at Northwestern University School of Medicine, Chicago and Principal Investigator in this study, said, "The observation that there is a surge of effector memory cells and the signal that there is an improvement in PFS in a high risk group of patients with relapsed large cell lymphoma suggests considerable biologic and clinical relevance to CT-011 and is a compelling argument for a Phase III trial. A successful trial could make this the standard of care in the setting of relapsed lymphoma or even in high risk lymphoma after initial therapy, but more importantly, lead the way towards the use of PD-1 inhibitors in settings in which enhanced innate immunity is desirable."
Based on the phase II results in DLBCL, CureTech intends to initiate a phase III trial in this indication. A phase II trial for colorectal cancer is on going, and CureTech intends to start a third phase II trial in metastatic melanoma in the near future. Additional potential indications are also being explored.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. /quotes/zigman/64731/quotes/nls/teva TEVA -0.08% is a leading global pharmaceutical company, committed to increasing access to high-quality healthcare by developing, producing and marketing affordable generic drugs as well as innovative and specialty pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. Headquartered in Israel, Teva is the world's largest generic drug maker, with a global product portfolio of more than 1,300 molecules and a direct presence in about 60 countries. Teva's branded businesses focus on neurological, respiratory and women's health therapeutic areas as well as biologics. Teva currently employs approximately 42,000 people around the world and reached $16.1 billion in net sales in 2010.