Ian Nicholson of Chroma Therapeutics discusses their recent deal with CTI




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Video title: Ian Nicholson of Chroma Therapeutics discusses their recent deal with CTI
Released on: March 30, 2011. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks to Ian Nicholson, CEO at Chroma Therapeutics
Chroma Therapeutics:Products and Technology Platform
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at the Oxford Studios of PharmaTelevision. On this show I have Ian Nicholson, who is CEO of Chroma Therapeutics based here in Oxfordshire, welcome to the show.
Ian Nicholson:
Thank you Fintan Walton and good morning to you.
Fintan Walton:
Good morning to you. Ian, Chroma Therapeutics is a British biotechnology company as I said based here in Oxfordshire, tell us just little bit about the history of Chroma Therapeutics and then could you tell me little bit about your products?
Ian Nicholson:
Yes, of course Fintan. So Chroma is a private biotech company probably one of the better known in the UK now, The company started off as really one of the first epigenetic companies to be founded anywhere in the world actually in 2001, since 2004 when the company was properly financed we've developed really a set of clinical assets focused in niche areas of unmet clinical need in blood bone cancers, leukemia's, lymphoma's, myeloma but we've also developed a very novel chemistry platform which we've exploited now to the point at which we've signed a significant partnership with GSK [PharmaDeals ID = 33525] around that platform.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, well the important thing is the platform of course you've also got a product which will come on to which is moving Phase II to Phase III, but tell us about the platform because it's quite a unique technology which is not just applicable to one particular type of drug but to the whole platform of potential drugs?
Ian Nicholson:
Absolutely Fintan, so this is a small molecule chemistry platform as opposed to a biologics platform and it focuses on a technology which we've called ESM which stands for Esterase-Sensitive Motif technology and this technology allows us we think uniquely to deliver a selectively small molecule drugs to macrophages and monocytes in man and recently through some clinical work we've been doing with one of our lead programs in this space we've shown that we can now orally deliver small molecule drug selectively to macrophages in man and that's a very important finding because of course the macrophage plays a key role in a number of diseases, autoimmune disease, oncology and number of other area therapeutic areas.
Collaboration with GSK
Fintan Walton:
Okay, and you've mentioned already you've got this collaboration with GSK, so what is GSK getting from that collaboration?
Ian Nicholson:
Sure, so the collaboration with GSK which we struck in the middle of 2009 is focused solely around four specific targets and we think this technology platform is applicable to a whole variety of targets and a whole variety of chemistries, in fact we've demonstrated that and we filed over 30 patents on the technology itself, but GSK we are working with GSK to develop a four specific programs against four exclusive targets and we are making good progress with that alliance.
Fintan Walton:
Right, now does that leave other programs available for other types of collaboration?
Ian Nicholson:
Yes very much so and we are looking to expand our relationships and talking to another number of other companies right now.
Deal with CTI
Fintan Walton:
Right, now every biotechnology company like yours have to have products going through the clinical development program and obviously we all know it's important that to have collaborations to be able to collaborate with quality companies is critical for companies like yours, very recently last week you announced a deal with CTI [PharmaDeals ID = 39717] could you tell us the basis of that for your lead program?
Ian Nicholson:
Since we last spoke the company has made a lot of progress in terms of taking it's clinical programs and we have three programs in the clinic now to quite an advance stage, our lead program which is the basis of the deal with CTI which is effectively and exclusive but geographic licensing deal means that we've licensed that agent Tosedostat it is a very novel orally active targeted agent it's not a chemotherapeutic agent it's focused in certain hematological malignancies, particularly AML and MDS but also potentially multiple myeloma we've licensed that drug to CTI for the America's in North and South America, we've retained rights to the agent full commercial rights to the agent outside that territory so in Europe and in Asia where we think the agent could be developed very productively. Part of the deal is that CTI will take the super majority of the funding of our late stage clinical development, we're just about to enter pivotal studies in two indications in relapsed refractory AML but also in MDS and we are looking to start a study this year in multiple myeloma as well. So CTI will help fund and enable us to get the agent to NDA and to European filing in 2014 and that's very enabling for the company particularly in a time when finance is as you know a very tight for private companies particularly.
Fintan Walton:
But it is also a sharing, I mean it's a benefit to CTI because of the sharing of that as well?
Ian Nicholson:
Absolutely, this is a co-development arrangement where we will be they will take the lead in studies in United States and Canada and we will run the European part of that and it will be a global study really.
Fintan Walton:
Right, and what can you disclose in terms of the financials of that particular deal?
Ian Nicholson:
Yes, we can disclose that in effect we get $10 million upfront, 5 million as an upfront fee and 5 million when we dose the first patient in this upcoming study which we are currently planning for now, the Phase II component of the study is now complete we are ready to enter Phase III hopefully towards the backend of this year. So the financial pieces that CTI funds 75% of their external costs of those studies going forward and that's very important for us, because it does mean that not only do we get financial help on the heavy lifting, but also we can bring to bare their clinical expertise they are a very advanced company in terms of their clinical infrastructure and they could help us a lot in terms of both setting up and running those pivotal studies.
Future plans
Fintan Walton:
Right. So clearly you've got two very important collaborations one with GSK, the other one now with CTI where does that leave Chroma Therapeutics going forward in the next few years, what other things are you or we expecting, obviously you're going to focus on these existing programs, but are you still looking for other collaborations for you other programs?
Ian Nicholson:
Yes indeed, so as I said earlier we are looking for a further deal around our technology platform, we'd like to expand both the indication for internal number of programs we have using this unique orally delivered macrophage's targeting technology, but in addition to that we will potentially seek a further deal around the lead agent potentially in Asia for example and look for ways to put bring forward our further two programs which are now approaching Phase II study. So there is a number of deals which we hope to be able to announce over the course of the coming year or two.
Fintan Walton:
Well congratulations on the CTI deal Ian, and thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Ian Nicholson:
Thank you Fintan.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Ian Nicholson
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Ian Nicholson , joined Chroma in September 2004. Prior to joining Chroma, he was Senior Vice President of Business Development for Celltech, responsible for all global licensing activities, and additionally held the position of Acting CEO, Oxford GlycoSciences following its acquisition by Celltech. Prior to this he was Commercial Director at Oxford Asymmetry and has held a variety of senior commercial positions with Lonza and Amersham. He holds a BSc (Hons) degree from University College, London and an MBA from Boston University.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
Chroma Therapeutics
Chroma Therapeutics based in Oxford (UK), is a drug discovery and development company focused in the fields of oncology and inflammatory disorders. Chroma is building a broad pipeline of first- or best-in-class treatments utilizing its expertise in chromatin biology and its novel intracellular accumulation technologies, which include the ability to selectively target drugs to macrophages. Chroma is backed by a number of leading specialist investors, including Abingworth, Essex Woodlands, Gilde, Phase4 and The Wellcome Trust.