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CETUS TUMOR NECROSIS FACTOR CLINICALS BEGAN THE WEEK OF JUNE 9

Executive Summary

CETUS TUMOR NECROSIS FACTOR CLINICALS BEGAN THE WEEK OF JUNE 9 at the Fox Chase Cancer Center. Cetus President Robert Fildes reported the start of Phase I studies during a presentation to an Alex Brown & Sons health care seminar in Baltimore on June 12. "As soon as we get through Phase I trials one of the things we are looking forward to is the area of combination therapy with interleukin-2," Fildes noted. The Cetus exec said that animal studies have indicated "a tremendous synergy" between TNF and IL-2. Cetus will be at least the second company to enter U.S. clinicals with TNF. Genentech began human studies with its TNF product in 1985. Chiron and Biogen have also reported work on TNF; their products have not yet reached the clinical phase of testing. TNF is the third Cetus compound to begin clinical testing. The company is also testing Betaseron (beta interferon) and Proleukin (interleukin-2). Referring to the firm's venture into the generic anticancer market, Fildes noted that Cetus-Ben Venue Therapeutics currently has five ANDAs pending at FDA with the first approval expected "fairly soon." Fildes predicted that the firm would have "over a dozen" ANDAs pending by year end. Cetus estimates the U.S. generic anticancer market at $150 mil. per year, growing to $400 mil in three years. Fildes reported that senior sales personnel for Cetus-Ben Venue have already been recruited and other sales staff are now being brought on board. The joint venture calls for Cetus to market drugs manufactured by Ben Venue. The cancer generic business is designed to provide Cetus with a product line to justify the build-up of a sales force in anticipation of its rDNA products. To complement its activities in the cancer area, Cetus has recently taken an equity position in Intelligent Medicine, a company developing a multichannel, programmable pump for delivering drugs to patients. "We found what they were doing fit very nicely with our focus on cancer," Files explained, noting that the pump allows several drugs to be delivered in patients over a long period of time. "This type of delivery system would be used for both the generics and for our new products."
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