Ziopharm Oncology is expanding a deal made back in March of 2011 with Solasia Pharma, now granting Solasia an exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialize Ziopharm's anticancer drug darinaparsin (Zinapar™ or ZIO-101) and related organoarsenic molecules in both intravenous and oral forms in all indications. Under the original 2011 deal, Solasia was given commercialization and development rights only in specific Pan-Asian/Pacific regions.

For its part in the updated deal, Ziopharm says it could get up to $72.2 million in milestones related to development and sales, a royalty on net sales of darinaparsin once the drug is commercialized, and a percentage of any sublicense revenues generated by Solasia. Solasia is taking full responsibility for costs related to darinaparsin's development, manufacturing, and commercialization.

Darinaparsin, according to Ziopharm, is a mitochondrial-targeted agent (organoarsenic) being developed for the treatment of hematologic and solid cancers that has been granted orphan drug designation in the U.S. and Europe as a treatment for peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL). Yoshihiro Arai, president and representative director of Solasia Pharma K.K., said in a statement that Solasia's initial clinical studies with darinaparsin for PTCL have been extremely promising, which inspired the firm to expand its deal with Ziopharm. “We presently plan to start pivotal clinical trials in Asia early in 2015,” he added.

“By expanding this agreement to all global territories, there exists now an additional strong incentive for Solasia to rapidly and strategically develop this potentially important product candidate in areas of unmet medical need in oncology,” Jonathan Lewis, M.D., Ph.D., Ziopharm's CEO, commented.

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