Pharma

With cancer products set for launches, DARA preps for commercialization

With its cancer products portfolio nearing a launch, DARA BioSciences (NASDAQ:DARA) is making the adjustments necessary to transition to become a revenue-producing company. DARA earlier this month closed on a stock sale that raised just over $10 million to support commercialization of its cancer products. Now the company is making some management moves to prepare […]

With its cancer products portfolio nearing a launch, DARA BioSciences (NASDAQ:DARA) is making the adjustments necessary to transition to become a revenue-producing company.

DARA earlier this month closed on a stock sale that raised just over $10 million to support commercialization of its cancer products. Now the company is making some management moves to prepare for the launches. Chief operating officer Christopher Clement adds the title of president of the Raleigh, North Carolina-based company. He will oversee launches of topical radiation and chemotherapy burns treatment Bionect next month and the launch of breast cancer treatment Soltamox later this year.

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Clement was previously CEO of cancer products company Oncogenerix. DARA retained Clement after acquiring Oncogenerix in January. The Oncogenerix deal brought to DARA the drug Soltamox, which is a a liquid version of breast cancer treatment tamoxifen.

The commercial push comes at a crucial time for the company. DARA last week received notice from the Nasdaq that the company’s share price, which has fallen below $1, does not meet listing requirements. DARA has until Nov. 19 to regain compliance. A strong revenue showing from the DARA’s cancer portfolio should help the company’s stock price.

As recently as six months ago, DARA was in no position to start drawing sales revenue. Until the Oncogenerix acquisition, DARA’s own drug candidates were still in midstage clinical development. But this year, DARA made a concerted effort to establish an oncology niche by acquiring or licensing cancer products. Besides Bionect and Soltamox, the company also licensed cancer drug gemcitabine from Canadian company Uman Pharma. That drug will be a generic version of Eli Lilly‘s (NYSE:LLY) branded treatment Gemzar, which accounted for $780 million in 2010 sales. DARA plans to file an abbreviated new drug application for gemcitabine in the second half of 2012.

DARA is continuing to work on its clinical stage program. The management moves include CEO David Drutz, who takes on the additional role of chief medical officer for the company. As CMO, Drutz’s responsibilities will include oversee the company’s drug candidates. KRN5500 is in phase 2 clinical trials as an experimental treatment for neuropathic pain caused by chemotherapy. The compound has fast track status from the FDA and its clinical trials are being financed by the the National Cancer Institute. Another compound, DB959, is being studied as a potential type 2 diabetes drug. That compound is ready to advance into phase 2 studies.

[Image from stock.xchng user srbichara]