Spectrum completes series of worldwide partnerships for antineoplastic bladder cancer drug.

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals signed a potentially $19 million collaboration with Seoul-based Handok Pharmaceuticals centered on the development and commercialization of the late-stage anticancer candidate, apaziquone (EOquin), in South Korea. Apaziquone is currently undergoing Phase III trials as a treatment for nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer. Spectrum has previously signed development and commercialisation deals for the drug with Allergan in North America, Europe and other key markets, and with Nippon Kayaku for Asian countries excluding South Korea.

The deal with Handok gives the company rights to develop apaziquone for the treatment of nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer in its designated territory. Handok will carry out and fund all relevant clinical development and commercialization, and make Spectrum an up-front payment and potential regulatory and commercialization milestones. Handok CEO, Young-Jin Kim, said the drug represented “a strategic fit” for his company. “Urology is one of the areas where we are trying to expand and we believe Spectrum’s apaziquone will strengthen our presence in the field.”

Spectrum has three drugs in the Phase II development: Ozarelix (SPI-153) is a fourth-generation luteinizing hormone releasing hormone antagonist in development for the treatment of prostate cancer and benign prostatic hypertrophy; Ortataxel is a third-generation taxane in development for the treatment of taxane-refractory tumors; and satraplatin is an orally administered platinum-derived chemotherapy agent in development for the treatment of non-small-cell lung carcinoma. Satraplatin had previously been partnered with GPC-Biotech, which early this month completed its merger into Agennix.  

Spectrum’s Phase I-stage pipeline includes drugs for solid tumors and a chemotherapy sensitizer for use in the treatment of recurrent malignant brain tumors.

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