SuperGen Inc. has extended its research agreement with the Stehlin Foundation for Cancer Research to eight years.
As part of this agreement, SuperGen also secured the global rights to other camptothecins and additional anticancer compounds.
One of these compounds has already demonstrated marked antitumor activity and is expected to have a very favorable safety profile.
In addition, reductions will be made with respect to SuperGen’s royalty payments for sales of rubitecan above $500 million.
In September 1997, SuperGen acquired the rights to its first camptothecin, rubitecan (then called RFS 2000), from the Houston- based Stehlin Foundation.
Rubitecan is a chemotherapy pill currently in Phase III clinical testing for the treatment of pancreatic cancer and in Phase II testing for the treatment of 11 additional tumor types.
Camptothecins are a new class of anticancer drugs which already enjoy a worldwide market of over $500 million.
“Clinical data generated by rubitecan, as well as two currently marketed camptothecins, validate the belief that camptothecins can be a very powerful class of anticancer agents,” said Joseph Rubinfeld, Ph.D., chairman and CEO of SuperGen.
“Consequently, the acquisition of additional camptothecins, together with other anticancer drugs, is a natural evolution as we seek to become the leader in the oncology field.””Rubitecan, a second generation camptothecin analog, is a promising and truly unique anticancer agent,” continued Dr. Rubinfeld. “It has the potential to be efficacious against one of the more deadly types of cancer (pancreatic), is extremely easy for the patient to administer, and its reduced toxicity suggests a substantial reduction in side effects.”
“SuperGen combines the level of senior management experience of a large pharmaceutical company with the drive and ambition of an entrepreneurial biotechnology company,” said Dr. John S. Stehlin, Jr., founder of the Stehlin Foundation for Cancer Research. “They have done an exceptional job in bringing rubitecan through the clinical process, and we look forward to working with them as we explore the potential of this exciting new class of anticancer compounds.”