News from Mesothelioma Drug Companies

The one-man Chief Financial Officer, President, and Corporate Secretary of Alfacell, Lawrence Kenyon, has resigned his posts from Alfacell. He plans to remain on the board and continue as the acting CFO, president, and corporate secretary until a replacement can be made after January 31, 2009. Kenyon’s resignation was spurred by his acceptance of the position of vice president of finance at a rival drug company, Par Pharmaceutical Inc. Alfacell is best known as the maker of the mesothelioma drug ONCONASE, which has been granted orphan drug and fast track status by both the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the EU. Alfacell is paring down its extraneous expenses in order to focus its efforts on pushing through a rolling new drug application for ONCONASE in 2009.

On December 10, 2008 CanBas Co. Ltd., working with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., released news that their drug to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma , CBP 501, has entered Phase II trials. This puts the drug one step closer to being fully approved for use in cancer patients. The two companies began their work together on a new mesothelioma in March 2007. At the time, the rights for developing, marketing, and manufacturing the drug on a global level were granted to Takeda and its cancer drug subsidiary, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company. Millennium will be charged with the promotion of CBP 105 as well as pushing to get it approved worldwide. CBP 105 works in a similar manner to other chemotherapy drugs in that it acts to arrest the cell cycle of cancer cells. During Phase I trials, CBP 105 was combined with other chemotherapeutic drugs. It was shown that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. The combination of these drugs seemed to boost the ability of the therapy to kill cancer cells more so than either drug alone. CBP 105 will undergo Phase II trials on its path toward proving its safety and effectiveness and eventually, it is hoped, worldwide acceptance.