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AmpliMed will start cancer medicine trials here

Citizen Staff Writer



A Tucson cancer drug development company has licensed roughly half the patents that Procter & Gamble donated to the University of Arizona Foundation two years ago.

AmpliMed Corp., 4280 N. Campbell Ave., obtained the patents revolving around one potential cancer drug and intends to start the first phase of clinical trials on patients late this year, said Steve Steinman, the company’s vice president for regulatory affairs and quality assurance.

“We are not targeting a particular cancer,” Steinman said. “We will be taking all comers with solid tumors.”

Trial locations have not been determined but will likely be out of town, he added.

This marks the first licensing of the P&G patents since the UA Foundation was given the 33 patents involving four cancer drugs in August 2003.

The foundation immediately created a separate UA Foundation Technologies and Research (UTR) limited-liability corporation, which has since worked with the UA College of Pharmacy to reformulate the patents and split them into 140 patents, said Bo Statham, UTR’s manager.

Terms of the licensing agreement with AmpliMed, which received 69 patents, were not disclosed.

Revenue from the patents is funneled back into UA research, Statham said.

Immediately, that amounts to relatively small licensing fees from AmpliMed. But that could turn into annual payments and other payments as certain milestones are reached.

“Ultimately, there are royalties in addition to an equity position (part ownership) in AmpliMed (for UTR),” Statham said.

Clinical trials would take several years before getting Food & Drug Administration approval to sell the drug on the commercial market. AmpliMed has raised more than $14 million in venture capital to fund the company until its drugs reach the market.

AmpliMed is developing other drugs, including Amplimexon, targeted toward pancreatic cancer, malignant melanoma, lung cancer and multiple myeloma. It is in two clinical trials.

AmpliMed, which has 13 employees, has no manufacturing plans.

The UA Foundation’s Technologies and Research expects a proposal from an out-of-state company to license another P&G drug, Statham said.

All the P&G patents involve anti-viral drugs dealing with cancer, HIV and hepatitis C, he said.

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