Celsion Corporation today announced that Zheijang HISUN Pharmaceutical Company (HISUN) does not plan to pursue the exclusive option to license ThermoDox® for the Greater China market. Accordingly, the parties will not enter into the exclusive license agreement, and Celsion will not receive nor will it require any future payment for the option or license, as contemplated in the Exclusive Option Agreement announced on January 22, 2013.
Celsion and HISUN have agreed that the Technology Development Contract entered into on January 18, 2013 will remain in effect while the parties continue to collaborate and are evaluating next steps in relation to ThermoDox®, which include the sub-group analysis of the Chinese cohort of patients in the Phase III Heat Study for the hepatocellular carcinoma clinical indication and other activities to further the development of ThermoDox® for the Greater China market .
Celsion also announced that its proprietary patent application, "Method of Storing Nanoparticle Formulations," has recently been allowed in China and granted in South Korea and Australia. Celsion holds an exclusive license agreement with Duke University for its temperature-sensitive liposome technology that covers the ThermoDox® formulation. Celsion's newly issued patents pertain specifically to methods of storing stabilized, temperature-sensitive liposomal formulations and will assist in the protection of global rights. These patents will extend the overall term of the ThermoDox® patent portfolio to 2026. The patents in these three countries are the first in this family, which includes pending applications in the U.S., Europe and additional key commercial geographies in Asia. This extended patent runway to 2026 allows for the evaluation of future development activities for ThermoDox and Celsion's heat-sensitive liposome technology.
"We have started the population sub-group analyses for the HEAT Study," said Michael H. Tardugno , Celsion's President and Chief Executive Officer. "While we understand HISUN's decision regarding the exclusive option for a license at this time, it is important to note that our Technology Development Contract remains in force and will do so pending the results of our sub-group analysis. Furthermore, our program for expanding patent coverage is intended to add long-term value to our drug pipeline, extending both the term of our ThermoDox® patent estate, supporting our multifaceted portfolio development and life-cycle management strategy, as well as broadening the breadth of patent protection around temperature-sensitive liposomal formulations."
Celsion ended 2012 with a strong balance sheet that provides the Company the opportunity to evaluate its future development plans. The Company projects its unaudited cash and investment balance to be approximately $23 million as of December 31, 2012 and approximately $27 million as of January 31, 2013.