2011-03-10 / Local & State

Ziopharm, Solasia Agree On Drug Licensing Deal

NEW YORK (AP) – The drugmaker Ziopharm Oncology Inc. said Monday it will receive $5 million upfront and possibly more than $85 million in future payments through a licensing agreement with Japan's Solasia Pharma for the potential cancer treatment darinaparsin.

News of the deal sent Ziopharm shares up 26 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $6.32 in morning trading Monday.

Ziopharm, based in New York, said Solasia will receive an exclusive license to develop and sell both oral and intravenous forms of darinaparsin in several countries The list includes Japan, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. Aside from the upfront payment, Ziopharm also could receive up to $32.5 million in development-based milestone payments and $53.5 million in sales-based milestones.

Ziopharm also will be entitled to receive royalty payments and a percentage of any sublicense revenues generated by Solasia.

Darinaparsin, or Zinapar, is being developed to treat various forms of cancer, including peripheral T-cell lymphoma, which develops from a type of white blood cell. Ziopharm expects to start a late- stage clinical trial of darinaparsin later this year.

The drug was awarded orphan drug status in the U.S. in September. Orphan drug status in the U.S. is reserved for drugs that treat illnesses affecting 200,000 people or less, and it comes with seven years of marketing exclusivity.

In January, Ziopharm said darinaparsin also was recommended for orphan drug incentives in the European Union.

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