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BTG licenses new prostate cancer drug to Cougar Biotechnology

BTG : 26 September, 2006  (New Product)
BTG, the global technology commercialisation company and Los Angeles-based Cougar Biotechnology today announced that they have signed a licence agreement in which Cougar is granted worldwide exclusive rights to develop and commercialise abiraterone acetate, a potential novel therapeutic for treatment of advanced prostate cancer.
BTG will receive an upfront cash payment and will benefit from further development milestones and a royalty on sales. Detailed financial terms were not disclosed.

Abiraterone was first synthesised at The Institute of Cancer Research in the UK as part of a BTG-funded programme to discover a potent, selective, orally active drug to inhibit the key enzyme in testosterone synthesis, 17ahydroxylase/C17,20-lyase. Suppression of testosterone synthesis was subsequently demonstrated in patients with prostate cancer.

Dr Roger Harrison, Vice President and Director of BTG’s Oncology Business Unit said, “We are very pleased to have secured a licensing partner with such a clear vision for the development and future clinical application of abiraterone acetate. This deal shows the value that we create for our partners, like ICR, and confirms that BTG is an important source of exciting new cancer drugs for the pharmaceutical industry.”

Dr. Arie Belldegrun, MD, FACS, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cougar Biotechnology said, “There is an urgent need for new and effective therapies for patients with advanced prostate cancer who fail first-line hormonal treatment. We believe that abiraterone could fill this void and serve as an important second-line hormonal agent.”

Alan H. Auerbach, Chief Executive Officer and President of Cougar Biotechnology added “We are pleased to be able to complete this licensing agreement with BTG for this novel, targeted therapy. We look forward to advancing the development of abiraterone.”

In the US, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. Approximately one in six American men will develop prostate cancer at some time during their lifetime, and there are approximately 220,900 new cases each year. In the US, the annual death toll from prostate cancer is 28,900. The incidence of prostate cancer in the EU is approximately 142,000 and some 59,700 men die of the disease.
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