4SC AG said it’s in talks with at least three potential partners after patients in a mid-stage clinical trial of its liver cancer drug Resminostat combined with Bayer AG’s Nexavar survived for eight months.
“Bayer decidedly has an interest in liver cancer,” 4SC Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Dauer said in a telephone interview today. “It would be negligent not to talk to them,” Dauer said, without confirming 4SC is in negotiations with Bayer. Dauer did not name any other potential partners.
The biotechnology company, based in Martinsried, Germany, needs an investor to finance the last round of trials to produce the safety and efficacy data needed for U.S. regulatory approval. 4SC has about 20 million euros ($26 million) of cash at hand, and spends about 1.1 million euros to 1.2 million euros a month, Dauer said.
Doctors will diagnose about 28,720 new cases of liver cancer this year in the U.S., and 20,550 people will die of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Resminostat is also being tested in patients with colorectal cancer and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“We want to find a partner that is interested in developing Resminostat broadly,” Dauer said.
4SC shares rose as much as 11 percent, the biggest intraday advance since May 31. The stock was up 4.7 percent at 1.53 euros as of 11:17 a.m. in Frankfurt trading.
Because patients added Resminostat to their drug regime after a couple of months once their cancer had progressed, the median overall survival of eight months in the results announced today shows that the combination may extend cancer patients lives by months, Dauer said. Patients taking only Nexavar survived for 10.7 months in a separate, Bayer-run trial dubbed Sharp.
4SC plans to start late-stage trials by mid-2013.