On March 1, 2021 Oasmia Pharmaceutical AB, an innovation-focused specialty pharmaceutical company, reported that it signed an agreement with Kazia Therapeutics, an Australian oncology-focused biotechnology company, to acquire exclusive global development rights for Cantrixil, a product candidate in development intended for the treatment of ovarian cancer (Press release, Oasmia, MAR 1, 2021, View Source [SID1234575806]). The agreement is the first in a series of planned in-licensing deals and acquisitions to expand Oasmia’s oncology portfolio, leveraging its proven development and regulatory capabilities.
Oasmia will acquire the license for an upfront cash consideration of $4m, development milestones worth up to $42m and cumulative sales-based royalties. In addition to its promise as stand-alone therapy, Cantrixil has the potential to complement Oasmia’s lead product for ovarian cancer, Apealea, through treatment protocols to be developed. It may also offer synergies with Oasmia’s XR-17 technology platform, which could enhance solubility in various routes of administration.
François Martelet, M.D., CEO of Oasmia, commented: "This agreement is the first step in our transformative ‘string of pearls’ strategy designed to achieve critical mass in Oasmia’s oncology portfolio. Cantrixil is an exciting addition and builds on our development expertise in ovarian cancer. Acquiring rights to Cantrixil, which has established clinical proof of concept, is a major step forward in executing our strategy, and we will continue to leverage our development and partnering expertise to expand our oncology pipeline."
Cantrixil consists of the active molecule, a potent and selective third generation benzopyran SMETI inhibitor named TRXE-002-01, encapsulated in a cyclodextrin. It is believed to target a wide spectrum of cancer cells, including chemotherapy-resistant tumor-initiating cells that are thought to be responsible for disease relapse. In December 2020, Kazia released the top-line results of a Phase I open-label study (NCT02903771) conducted at sites in the USA and Australia. The Phase I study met its primary endpoints, establishing clinical proof of concept, subject to further clinical evaluation and confirmation.
A Phase II study with Cantrixil is expected to be initiated in 2022.
James Garner, CEO and Managing Director at Kazia Therapeutics added: "We are excited by the potential of this novel candidate to target and kill tumor-initiating cells responsible for cancers originating, metastasizing, and relapsing. These slower-growing tumor-initiating cells are often resistant to other types of chemotherapies. Cantrixil has the potential to become a standard front-line agent, complementing the use of platinum therapy in Ovarian cancer patients. Oasmia’s expertise and track record in developing oncology drugs through to approval makes them ideally placed to continue the development of Cantrixil forward to benefit patients who currently have limited treatment options."
The company will hold a conference call and an online presentation on March 1, 2021 at 14.00 CET. The call will be hosted by CEO Francois Martelet, and Acting CSO Reinhard Koenig. The presentation will be in English.