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Teva Partners on New Prostate, Lung Cancer Treatment

Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva has signed a deal to invest $60 million in a new cancer-fighting drug to fight prostate and lung cancer.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 12/22/2009, 1:24 PM / Last Update: 12/22/2009, 2:12 PM

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd., says it plans to spend $60 million plus an equity investment on a new cancer-fighting treatment. The experimental drug, custirsen sodium (OGX-011), is set to enter Phase III clinical trials in 2010 and early 2011.

The Israeli pharmaceutical giant has just entered a global licensing and collaboration agreement for the new medication with Washington and Vancouver-based OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The new medication has already completed a successful Phase II program in patients with advanced prostate cancer and advanced non-small cell lung cancer. The two companies will collaborate together on a global Phase III clinical trial in patients with the same diagnoses. Researchers are also hoping to use the new treatment to boost the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

Under the agreement, OncoGenex retains the right to co-promote the new medication in the United States and Canada. Teva will add the new treatment to its family of branded oncology products elsewhere in the world, including Israel.

OGX-011 is a second-generation antisense drug that was co-discovered by OncoGenex and Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which will receive a $10 million payment from OncoGenex as a result of the deal with Teva.

OGX-011 is designed to block production of clusterin, a cell survival protein. Increased clusterin production is observed in many human cancers and in response to many cancer treatments as well. It is linked to faster rates of cancer progression, treatment resistance and shorter survival.

OncoGenex conducted five Phase II trials studies in which OGX-011 demonstrated effectiveness in fighting prostate and advanced non-small cell lung cancers. It also appeared to show potential benefit when added to therapy for breast cancer.