4SC’s Next CEO Says Partner Talks Have Started on Cancer Drug

4SC AG’s newly announced Chief Executive Officer Enno Spillner said the company is in talks to find a partner for its experimental cancer drug resminostat and expects to start late-stage clinical trials by mid-2013.

Current CEO Ulrich Dauer will step down at the end of the month for personal reasons, the Martinsried, Germany-based company said today. Spillner will add the CEO role to his existing position of chief financial officer.

4SC is planning to test the drug in combination with Bayer AG’s Nexavar in a pivotal trial of liver cancer patients, Spillner said in a phone interview today. The biotechnology company needs an investor to finance the last round of trials to produce the safety and efficacy data needed for regulatory approval.

“We’ve started partnering talks, and we’d ideally like to start the clinical study by mid-year,” Spillner said.

The trial could run until 2016, allowing the company to ask regulators for approval by 2017.

Doctors will diagnose about 30,640 new cases of liver cancer this year in the U.S., and 21,670 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.

Spillner also plans to establish at least one collaboration to develop and market drugs in the coming 18 months, along the lines of 4SC’s recent agreement with LEO Pharma A/S.