Joint venture covers Zevalin, a drug approved for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Cell Therapeutics (CTI) received $7.5 million pursuant to the formation of a joint venture with Spectrum. RIT Oncology was created to develop and commercialize lymphoma drug Zevalin® in the U.S.

In December, when the transaction closed, CTI obtained an initial $7.5 million. The agreement also calls for up to $15 million in sales-related milestones for CTI. The firm holds an option exercisable from January 15 to July 15 to sell its 50% membership interest in RIT to Spectrum for $18 million.

Zevalin was approved in 2002 for patients with relapsed or refractory, low-grade or follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), including those who have rituximab-refractory follicular NHL. Biogen Idec developed the drug and sold it to CTI in August 2007 for $10 million upfront. While Biogen Idec reported $16.4 million in U.S. sales during 2006, CTI has achieved $9.3 million in revenues from the first three quarters of 2008.

The FDA also accepted for filing and has granted priority review status for an sBLA for use of Zevalin as a consolidation therapy in patients with follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who achieve a response to first-line therapy. A decision is expected in early April.


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