Teva in talks to invest in cancer drug co Biocancell

Biocancell is conducting trials of its drug for bladder and pancreatic cancer.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) is talks to lead an investment in cancer drug development company Biocancell Therapeutics Ltd. (TASE:BICL).

Biocancell's share rose 8% today to NIS 3.33 in heavy trading, giving a market cap of NIS 55 million

Teva was unavailable for comment by web-posting. Biocancell and its controlling shareholder, IDB Holding Corp. Ltd. (TASE:IDBH) investment arm Clal Biotechnology Industries Ltd. (TASE: CBI), declined to comment.

The negotiations are presumably due to Teva's wish to sign a commercialization agreement for Biocancell's drugs, either later or as part of the investment. Biocancell is currently conducting a Phase IIb clinical trial of its drug, BC-819 as a treatment for bladder cancer, with the results expected in early 2011. The company is also conducting a Phase I/IIa trial of the drug for pancreatic cancer.

Biocancell CEO Uri Danon once managed development projects for Teva, including development of its multiple sclerosis drug, Copaxone. Before joining Biocancell, Danon was CEO of Atox Bio Inc., which was also once was in talks on an investment by Teva.

In October, Biocancell published a shelf prospectus to raise NIS 15-20 million. No offering has been held, although it published a market presentation in early December. In addition to trading on the TASE, the company files reports with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Biocancell chief science officer Prof. Avraham Hochberg founded the company and owns 13% of it. He is an expert on the H19 gene, which is expressed in fetuses but not in healthy adult tissue, but is expressed in 33 different types of cancer cells, including bladder, carcinoma, pancreatic, ovarian, and liver cancer. BC-819 targets this gene. One component of the drug identifies the gene and the second part is a diphtheria toxin that prevents the gene's expression.

Teva has invested in other cancer drug development companies, including $10 million in Clal Biotech portfolio company CureTech Ltd.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on January 11, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

Twitter Facebook Linkedin RSS Newsletters גלובס Israel Business Conference 2018