Posted September 19, 2012

European licensing agreement propels Temple’s commercialization revenues

A local biopharmaceutical company that has licensed and is developing a Temple-created cancer therapeutic has signed a European commercialization agreement that will significantly boost the university’s tech licensing revenues.

Onconova Therapeutics Inc., based in Newtown, Pa. and Pennington, N.J., has entered into an agreement with global healthcare company Baxter International for the development, commercialization and distribution in Europe of Rigosertib, a novel, targeted anti-cancer compound designed to inhibit critical pathways to the growth and survival of cancer cells.

This licensing agreement is expected to increase Temple’s technology transfer revenues to over $13 million for the current fiscal year, a five-fold increase from last year when the university set a new milestone of nearly $2.5 million in revenue. There is potential for additional revenue based on the Onconova-Baxter agreement achieving specific development, commercialization and sales milestones.

According to Kenneth Blank, senior vice provost for research and graduate education at Temple, the revenue from this agreement creates an opportunity for Temple to rank in the top 30 among colleges and universities nationally for tech licensing and commercialization revenue, based on 2011 figures reported to the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM).

Rigosertib is based on novel therapeutics discovered by former Temple researcher E. Premkumar Reddy and his team at the Fels Institute for Cancer Research in Temple’s School of Medicine. The technology was patented by the university and licensed to Onconova in 1999.

“It is extremely rewarding to witness the evolution of a new cancer therapy generated by academia through to late-stage development in patients,” said Ramesh Kumar, president and CEO of Onconova. “Rigosertib has the potential to positively impact the lives of cancer patients around the world.”

Tested on more than 600 patients worldwide, Rigosertib is currently being evaluated in a Phase III clinical trial for myelodysplastic syndrome — or pre-leukemia — patients who have failed or relapsed after receiving current therapeutic options, with initial results expected in the second half of 2013. It is also in a Phase II/III combination clinical study in patients with previously untreated metastatic pancreatic cancer.