Cellectar Awarded Another Cancer Drug Patent

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

[Updated 1/26/17, 1:15 pm. See below.] The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Cellectar Biosciences a patent on two cancer drugs the company is developing, including its lead drug candidate, according to the company.

Madison, WI-based Cellectar (NASDAQ: CLRB) says the patent covers the use of its lead drug candidate, CLR 131, for treating several forms of malignant solid tumors. They include adrenal, breast, colon, liver, lung, ovarian, and prostate cancers, according to a press release. (To date, Cellectar’s main focus has been developing the drug as a treatment for blood cancers.) The patent also covers CLR 125, which Cellectar is developing to treat micro-metastatic cancer, or tiny, newly formed tumors. Both drugs are so-called radiotherapeutics, which combine a cancer-killing isotope with a targeting molecule designed to ferry the isotope to the cancer cells and spare healthy cells.

Cellectar said last month that the patent office had issued allowances on its patent application—a move that signals that agency intends to award a patent, but has not yet officially done so. So while the latest announcement may have been expected by many, it still elicited a positive reaction from investors. Shares in Cellectar closed the trading day at $1.55 apiece on Tuesday, the day the company announced the new patent. That was up about 12.3 percent from Monday’s closing price of $1.38 a share. [This paragraph has been edited for clarity.]

“This patent strengthens our radiotherapeutic intellectual property portfolio,” says Jim Caruso, president and CEO of Cellectar, in a prepared statement. “While we are currently focused on developing CLR 131 for hematologic malignancies such as multiple myeloma, the claims granted provide additional development optionality for Cellectar or a potential partner.”

In September, the National Cancer Institute awarded a $12 million grant to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study CLR 131. Cellectar was formed in 2002 as a spinout of research conducted at the school.

Cellectar recently shared details pertaining to a Phase 2 clinical trial of CLR 131. The study is supported by a separate $2 million grant from the NCI, and is slated to begin by the end of March.