By Brenda Sandburg
Quadra Logic Technologies Inc. may reacquire full rights to its Benzoporphyrinderivative (BPD) product from its marketing partner, American Cyanamid Co., and form analliance with another company.
QLT (NASDAQ:QLTIF) of Vancouver, British Columbia, annonced Tuesday that it isconsidering exercising its option to obtain full rights to BPD since Cyanamid isconsidering discontinuing development funding of the drug. The outcome of discussions withCyanamid “will not affect planned development activities related to BPD, and targetmilestones for 1994 will be met,“ QLT stated.
BPD, a second-generation, light-activated product, is in Phase II trials for treatmentof skin cancer and psoriasis.
Talks with Several Companies
QLT's director of investor relations and corporate communications, David Main, told BioWorldthat the company has held talks with several multinational pharmaceutical companiesconcerning use of BPD in immune modulation and prevention of restenosis following balloonangioplasty -- areas that QLT has been pursuing independently of Cyanamid.
Main said the companies also are interested in dermatology and oncology applications ifCyanamid relinquishes its rights in these areas.
QLT said that in the most advanced of these, it has exchanged technical and marketinginformation with an unnamed multinational company, and management from both companies havediscussed the potential structure of a new alliance.
Under an agreement originally signed in 1987, American Cyanamid has worldwide marketingand distribution rights to QLT's first product, Photofrin, and BPD. The agreement islimited to the oncology and dermatology markets. Cyanamid has provided 50 percent of thecosts of developing the two compounds. Under the current terms of the agreement, QLT willobtain 32.5 percent of the gross of Photofrin and 26 percent of the gross sales of BPD.
Main said BPD has different chemical characteristics from Photofrin and can penetratetissue more deeply. He said skin sensitivity to Photofrin lasts four to six weeks, whileskin sensitivity to BPD lasts up to four days. In addition, he noted that BPD treatmentcan be completed in one to three hours, whereas patients receiving Photofrin must wait 48hours before light can be applied. The two drugs are being developed for differentindications.
Photofrin is being developed in North America and Europe as a palliative treatment forlate-stage lung, esophageal and bladder cancers, and in Japan as a first-line alternativeto surgery for a variety of early-stage cancers.
The drug is injected into a patient, where it accumulates in tumor cells. It remainsinactive until exposed to fiber optic light, which evokes a photochemical reaction thatdestroys the tumor.
In April, Photofrin was approved in Canada for treatment of superficial papillarybladder cancer and has been submitted for approval in eight European countries and Japan.QLT expects to file a new drug application in the U.S. in the first quarter of 1994 fortreatment of esophageal cancer.
QLT had cash reserves of $31.20 million (C$41.5 million) as of Sept. 30. Cyanamid ownsjust over 2 million shares of QLT stock. Cyanamids original 16 percent stake in thecompany has been diluted to 11 percent with QLT's follow-on stock offerings.
QLT's stock was down 75 cents a share on Tuesday, closing at $7.