Healthcare Industry News: HSMN NewsFeed
News Release - October 28, 2010
EpiCept Corporation and FDA Agree on Development Plan for Ceplene(R)Phase III Trial to be Conducted under a Special Protocol Assessment
TARRYTOWN, N.Y.--(Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network)--EpiCept Corporation (Nasdaq and Nasdaq OMX Stockholm Exchange: EPCT) today announced that it has reached an agreement on all outstanding issues with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on a regulatory path forward for Ceplene® (histamine dihydrochloride), the Company’s lead product for the remission maintenance and prevention of relapse of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in first complete remission. Ceplene® is approved in the European Union for this indication and is marketed there by Meda AB.
The FDA indicated that a new trial should be conducted to demonstrate Ceplene’s activity in conjunction with low-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) as remission maintenance therapy for AML patients in first complete remission. EpiCept has reached agreement with the FDA for a two-arm, randomized, open-label trial that will compare the efficacy of Ceplene® plus low-dose IL-2 to standard of care in this indication. Based on FDA guidance, the primary endpoint of the trial will be overall patient survival. The Company’s previous Phase III trial demonstrated a statistically significant prolongation of the primary endpoint of leukemia-free survival and extended overall survival by more than one year in patients in their first complete remission.
As a next step, EpiCept will submit a detailed Phase III protocol. The FDA, via the Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) procedure, will provide guidance on specific sections of the protocol including the adaptive design with prospectively defined rules for sample size selection for both futility and expected success. The Company also recently filed an application with the FDA to grant Ceplene® fast track status. In addition to other benefits, if granted, this should permit an expedited review of the Ceplene® New Drug Application (NDA) once it is filed.
“We are committed to Ceplene® as an important medical breakthrough that needs to be available to AML patients in the United States as it is currently in Europe,” said Jack Talley, President and Chief Executive Officer of EpiCept. “We intend to work closely with the FDA to produce an optimal trial design that is achievable and can be conducted in a reasonable timeframe. The framework under which we are working with the FDA provides us with a realistic pathway to conduct the study ourselves or with a partner. We will now determine the appropriate next steps for funding and conducting this trial, with the intent of commencing such a study in 2011.”
About EpiCept Corporation
EpiCept is focused on the development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products for the treatment of cancer and pain. The Company's lead product is Ceplene®, which has been granted full marketing authorization by the European Commission for the remission maintenance and prevention of relapse in adult patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in first remission. The Company has two oncology drug candidates currently in clinical development that were discovered using in-house technology and have been shown to act as vascular disruption agents in a variety of solid tumors. The Company's pain portfolio includes EpiCept™ NP-1, a prescription topical analgesic cream in late-stage clinical development designed to provide effective long-term relief of pain associated with peripheral neuropathies.
This news release and any oral statements made with respect to the information contained in this news release contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements include statements which express plans, anticipation, intent, contingency, goals, targets, future development and are otherwise not statements of historical fact. These statements are based on our current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or developments to be materially different from historical results or from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause actual results or developments to differ materially include: the risk that Ceplene® will not receive regulatory approval or marketing authorization in the United States or Canada, the risk that Ceplene® will not achieve significant commercial success, the risk that any required post-approval clinical study for Ceplene® will not be successful, the risk that we will not be able to maintain our final regulatory approval or marketing authorization for Ceplene®, the risks associated with the adequacy of our existing cash resources and our ability to continue as a going concern, the risks associated with our ability to continue to meet our obligations under our existing debt agreements, the risk that Azixa™ will not receive regulatory approval or achieve significant commercial success, the risk that we will not receive any significant payments under our agreement with Myrexis, the risk that the development of our other apoptosis product candidates will not be successful, the risk that clinical trials for EpiCeptTM NP-1 or crolibulinTM will not be successful, the risk that EpiCept™ NP-1 or crolibulinTM will not receive regulatory approval or achieve significant commercial success, the risk that we will not be able to find a partner to help conduct the Phase III trials for EpiCept™ NP-1 on attractive terms, a timely basis or at all, the risk that our other product candidates that appeared promising in early research and clinical trials do not demonstrate safety and/or efficacy in larger-scale or later stage clinical trials, the risk that we will not obtain approval to market any of our product candidates, the risks associated with dependence upon key personnel, the risks associated with reliance on collaborative partners and others for further clinical trials, development, manufacturing and commercialization of our product candidates; the cost, delays and uncertainties associated with our scientific research, product development, clinical trials and regulatory approval process; our history of operating losses since our inception; the highly competitive nature of our business; risks associated with litigation; the risk that our securities may be delisted from Nasdaq; and risks associated with our ability to protect our intellectual property. These factors and other material risks are more fully discussed in our periodic reports, including our reports on Forms 8-K, 10-Q and 10-K and other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. You are urged to carefully review and consider the disclosures found in our filings which are available at www.sec.gov or at www.epicept.com. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, any of which could turn out to be wrong due to inaccurate assumptions, unknown risks or uncertainties or other risk factors.
*Azixa is a registered trademark of Myrexis, Inc.
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