Mundipharma has acquired the rights to CAP7.1, a drug that could bring the first alternative to surgery and chemo for patients with biliary tract cancer.
Cambridge-based Mundipharma has paid $250M (€212M) to the German biotech CellAct in exchange for the worldwide development, commercialization and manufacturing rights to CAP7.1. The candidate is a prodrug that, when metabolized, yields the anticancer drug etoposide, commonly used in chemotherapy. The enzymes that metabolize tend to be more active in tumor cells than healthy ones, providing the drug with higher specificity than if chemo was delivered systemically.
Biliary tract cancer kills 140,000 people every year, but no treatments are available beyond surgery and chemotherapy, which result in a 1-year survival of up to 30%. CAP7.1 has demonstrated in Phase II the potential to raise the number to 40% in patients that have not responded to first-line chemo. Mundipharma will now take the drug to Phase III to confirm the results before launching.
CellAct is a virtual biotech built around CAP7.1 as a single asset, which, after 10 years has finally yielded returns for its team and investors. The drug was initially developed at Charité Universitätsmedizin in Berlin, which will also receive royalties and milestones as the drug’s development progresses.
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