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Takeda to market new bone cancer drug

Published on 20/05/09 at 04:29pm

Takeda has gained the rights to the first treatment for a new malignant bone cancer affecting children and young adults.

The Japanese pharma company has gained the rights to Mepact (mifamurtide) as part of its $75 million acquisition of cancer specialist IDM Pharma.

IDM's drug has already received European marketing approval for the treatment of non-metastatic osteosarcoma following surgical removal of the tumour in children, adolescents and young adults.

Although osteosarcoma is rare, with 1,200 new cases diagnosed in Europe each year, it is often fatal.

Mepact received orphan status five years ago, giving it a ten-year period of market exclusivity.

European Commission marketing authorisation was granted in March for sales in all EU member states, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Takeda Pharmaceuticals Europe will be responsible for marketing the drug in Europe.

Its chief executive Erich Brunn said Mepact offered a "demonstrated survival advantage for young patients".

The brand also "provides Takeda with an approved therapy that contributes immediately to our top-line growth", he added.

In phase III trials with 800 patients, Mepact plus chemotherapy resulted in a 30% decrease in the risk of death with 78% surviving after six years.

The study evaluated patient outcomes with the addition of Mepact to three- or four-drug adjuvant chemotherapy (cisplatin, doxorubicin, and methotrexate with or without ifosfamide).

IDM president Timothy P. Walbert said: "Our goal has been to improve the lives of cancer patients by developing therapies that meet significant unmet treatment needs - Takeda shares this goal."

"The European approval was the result of decades of research and most importantly the dedication of patients and their families," he added.

Shareholders representing 55% of the outstanding IDM common stock have agreed to tender their shares in the tender offer.

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