Former partner CuraGen will refocus on its mid-stage antibody-drug conjugate for the treatment of metastatic melanoma and metastatic breast cancer.

TopoTarget bought out former partner CuraGen to regain full control of Phase I/II anticancer agent in a deal worth $45 million. The firms have been working together on Belinostat, a histone deacetylase inhibitor, since 2004.

CuraGen will receive $26 million, five million new TopoTarget shares, reportedly valued at approximately $13 million, and a commercial milestone fee of $6 million.

Belinostat is currently being tested in 18 clinical trials to treat different types of cancer. It has shown positive results when tested in cutaneous and peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) and very promising effect in treating ovarian cancer in combination with standard chemotherapy drugs, according to TopoTarget.

“TopoTarget will now push forward the development of belinostat and will focus on bringing the drug to the market as soon as possible,” comments Peter Buhl Jensen, CEO of TopoTarget. “We can now pursue an initial registration in PTCL using our in-house proven clinical and regulatory team and focus on pursuing a partnership with a large pharma, which has the development and commercialization muscle to exploit belinostat’s blockbuster potential.

CuraGen will now refocus its priorities, notes Timothy Shannon, president and CEO. “After a thorough review of our current strategic options, we feel the most effective use of our resources and best potential value creation opportunity for shareholders is based on CR011-vcMMAE, our unpartnered antibody-drug conjugate, currently in Phase II for the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma and moving toward Phase II in metastatic breast cancer.”

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