Celator Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CPXX) announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Breakthrough Therapy designation to VYXEOS (also known as CPX-351). VYXEOS is an investigational product in development as a treatment for AML and other blood cancers.

The Breakthrough Therapy designation is primarily based upon the positive results from the pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial in older patients with previously untreated high-risk (secondary) AML.  The designation is for the treatment of adults with therapy-related AML (t-AML) or AML with myelodysplasia-related changes (AML-MRC).  This designation includes the patient populations enrolled in the Phase 3 clinical trial.

The Phase 3 trial met its primary endpoint demonstrating a statistically significant improvement in overall survival.  Data will be presented at theAmerican Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2016 Annual Meeting on Saturday, June 4th.

The median overall survival for patients treated with VYXEOS in the study was 9.56 months compared to 5.95 months for patients receiving 7+3, representing a 3.61 month improvement in favor of VYXEOS.  The hazard ratio (HR) was 0.69 (p=0.005), which represents a 31% reduction in the risk of death versus 7+3.   The percentage of patients alive 12 months after randomization was 41.5% on the VYXEOS arm compared to 27.6% on the 7+3 arm.  The percentage of patients alive 24 months after randomization was 31.1% on the VYXEOS arm compared to 12.3% on the 7+3 arm.

Sixty-day all-cause mortality was 13.7% versus 21.2%, in favor of patients treated with VYXEOS.

No substantial difference in Grade 3-5 adverse events was observed between VYXEOS and 7+3. In the intent-to-treat population, Grade 3-5, hematologic adverse events were similar for overall infections, febrile neutropenia, and bleeding events. In the intent-to-treat population, Grade 3-5, non-hematologic adverse events were similar across all organ systems, including cardiac, gastrointestinal, general systems, metabolic disorders, musculoskeletal, nervous system, respiratory, skin and renal.

“We are very happy the FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy designation for VYXEOS,” said Scott Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of Celator Pharmaceuticals.  “The breadth of the designation, which includes all adults with t-AML and AML-MRC, is encouraging as AML patients are in need of advancements in treatment.  We look forward to working with the FDA to bring VYXEOS to patients as quickly as possible.”

FDA awards Breakthrough Therapy designation in order to expedite the development and review of new medicines that are intended to treat serious or life-threatening diseases when the therapy has demonstrated substantial improvement over available therapies on at least one clinically significant endpoint or when there is significant unmet medical need.

Celator plans to submit a New Drug Application (NDA) to the FDA by the end of the third quarter of 2016. (Original Source)

Shares of Celator are up over 11% to $16.77 in pre-market trading. CPXX has a 1-year high of $17.40 and a 1-year low of $1.12. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $14.04 and its 200-day moving average is $5.51.

On the ratings front, Celator has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on May 11, H.C. Wainwright analyst Andrew Fein reiterated a Buy rating on CPXX. Separately, on April 18, Roth Capital’s Joseph Pantginis maintained a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $22.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Andrew Fein and Joseph Pantginis have a total average return of 3.6% and -2.9% respectively. Fein has a success rate of 43.2% and is ranked #787 out of 3842 analysts, while Pantginis has a success rate of 36.0% and is ranked #3615.

Celator Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a clinical-stage company, which engages in the research and development of biopharmaceutical products. It intends to provide chemotherapies and molecularly targeted agents to deliver anti-cancer activity and enhance treatment outcomes for cancer patients. It operates under the CombiPlex platform. Its products include VYXEOS, CPX-1, and CPX-8.