Cell Therapeutics in $172M partnership with Baxter

NEW YORK (AP) — Cell Therapeutics and Baxter International announced a partnership on Cell Therapeutics’ drug pacritinib, a potential treatment for the bone marrow disease myelofibrosis.

Cell Therapeutics said it could get as much as $172 million in payments from Baxter, and the companies will split the profits on U.S. sales if the drug is approved. The Seattle company will also receive royalty payments on sales in other markets.

Shares of Cell Therapeutics jumped 18 cents, or 10.3 percent, to $1.93 in afternoon trading.

Cell Therapeutics will get $60 million upfront, including a $30 million payment and a $30 million investment by Baxter. It could get another $112 million in milestone payments and said it could get $40 million of that total in 2014.

The Seattle company is running one late-stage trial of pacritinib as a treatment for myelofibrosis, a blood disorder. In October Cell Therapeutics Inc. said it had reached an agreement with regulators about the design of a second trial of pacritinib. The agreement makes it more likely the FDA will approve pacritinib if it meets its goals in the trial.

Myelofibrosis causes anemia, fatigue, pain and swelling of the spleen. It causes abnormal blood cells to build up in bone marrow, forming thick scar tissue that slows the production of healthy blood cells. To make up for the shortage, other organs including the liver and the spleen begin producing blood cells.

The companies will market the drug together in the U.S., and Baxter will have the market rights in other countries.

Cell Therapeutics’ only approved drug is the lymphoma drug Pixuvri. Revenue from Pixuvri totaled $362,000 in the third quarter.

Top products for Baxter International Inc. include the hemophilia drug Advate. The Deerfield, Ill., company also makes anesthetics and chemotherapy drugs and medical products, and it expects more than $15 billion in revenue this year. Earlier this year Baxter bought dialysis product maker Gambro for $2.76 billion.

Shares of Baxter rose 11 cents to $67.71 in afternoon trading.

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