Oncothyreon CEO on Next-Generation Cancer Vaccines, Two Key Zymonites, and Serious Luck

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that one, or PX-866.

X: So given your finite resources, you have committed to take one drug into Phase II, and that’s going to be PX-866?

BK: We’ve committed to take forward PX-866.

X: When you say a broad program, what do you mean by that? Is it a couple of different indications, or are those randomized trials to give you a real answer?

BK: We haven’t disclosed that. I can’t answer that.

X: It sounds like you’re trying to get your ducks in a row before the big event of 2010, which will be the interim analysis of the START trial. If that comes a year from now, you’ve got BGLP40 poised to enter the clinic, and your Phase II of PX-866 would be well underway.

BK: That’s a correct view of what we’re trying to do. The goal all along—and I’ve said it since the day I joined this company—the goal was to have an oncology therapeutics development company that had multiple products in development so we had more than one opportunity for success and that we had mitigated our risk. That was the strategy from September 2006. That’s why we brought in the small molecule pipeline and pushed that forward. That’s what we wanted. It’s why we’re moving forward with BGLP40. And it’s what we intend to do. To look for interesting early-stage molecules, take them through early-stage clinical development, and then partner for later-stage clinical development and commercialization. That’s the model. So far, we’ve been able to execute on that.

X: Not only do you have more capital around here, you have some more human capital around here. I’ve noticed there’s a mini-migration of people from [Seattle-based] ZymoGenetics (NASDAQ: ZGEN). I see Doug Williams (CEO of ZymoGenetics) has joined your board. Any significance we should take from that, other than the fact that they got out of cancer research? What does it mean to your ability to push things forward?

BK: That was not a planned event. They made a decision to exit from cancer research at a time when we needed some additional people, and that just happened to work out. Doug is somebody that several members of our board have known for a long time, and we’re happy that Doug has agreed to come on board with us. But there shouldn’t be any more read into it. It happened to happen that way.

X: I’m actually thinking just as much about the impact of Scott Peterson and Diana Hausman. They are here full-time.

BK: Scott was part of the decision to exit oncology research at Zymo, and came very highly recommended to us, by Doug, actually. We’re delighted to have him. He’s a great employee. Also, knowing that we wanted to go into later-stage clinical development with some of these small-molecules, we wanted to bring somebody in-house to run that. We had been doing clinical development entirely on an outsourced basis. That’s just not feasible with what we have in mind for Phase II. So we were glad to get Diana.

X: How many people do you have, 16?

BK: Today, that’s probably right. We need to replace some people who chose not to come up here from the Tucson facility that we closed.

X: Do you have any guidance for 2010on what your strategy is on partnering for PX-866? … Next Page »

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