CTI BioPharma Corp (NASDAQ:CTIC) announced that James A. Bianco, M.D, CTI BioPharma’s President and Chief Executive Officer, has retired from the Company effective on October 2nd. At the request of the Board of Directors, Richard Love, a director of CTI BioPharma since 2007, has been appointed to serve as interim President and Chief Executive Officer.

“Since starting the Company 25 years ago, I believe we have made significant contributions to science and to the treatment of patients with blood-related cancers,” said Dr. Bianco. “We identified, in-licensed or acquired 6 novel targeted agents, 3 of which received marketing approval. I am very proud of these accomplishments, including, TRISENOX® (arsenic trioxide) now the standard of care in treating patients with a rare form of leukemia; expanding the indication for ZEVALIN® (ibritumomab tiuxetan), the first approved radio-immunotherapy for patients with a chronic form of lymphoma; and PIXUVRI® (pixantrone), the first and only treatment approved for patients with relapsed aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. With pacritinib at its current stage of development, this is the right time for me to retire and pursue other passions in my life. I have always been amazed at the dedication and passion of our employees and look forward to following the Company as it transitions through its next phase of development.”

Phillip Nudelman, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board, said, “Jim has contributed in many ways since co-founding CTI BioPharma 25 years ago, and has a keen ability to identify underappreciated assets. We thank Jim and wish him great success in his future endeavors.”

Dr. Nudelman added, “Richard Love has significant experience with CTI BioPharma as a member of the Board of Directors, and we are fortunate that he is available and willing to serve as interim CEO. His many years of biotech experience as a founder and CEO make him the ideal person to operate the company as we search for a new, seasoned CEO to take over the reins ofCTI BioPharma.”

About CTI BioPharma’s future prospects, Mr. Love said, “I am enthusiastic about the potential of pacritinib as a treatment option for patients with myelofibrosis, and I look forward to working with our dedicated employees and our senior leadership team to move this program forward. In particular, I plan to work with them as they communicate with the U.S. and European regulatory agencies to determine the best path forward for pacritinib, with the ultimate goal of obtaining potential marketing approval in both territories.”

Mr. Love started two biotechnology companies, Triton Biosciences Inc. and ILEX Oncology Inc., and he served as chief executive officer for Triton Biosciences Inc. from 1983 to 1991 and as chief executive officer for ILEX Oncology from 1994 to 2001. Mr. Love also served in executive positions at not-for-profit organizations including the Cancer Therapy and Research Center(CTRC) and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). He currently is a director ofPAREXEL International Corporation, a publicly traded company, and is a director of several private companies. Mr. Love received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering fromVirginia Tech. (Original Source)

Shares of CTI BioPharma has a 1-year high of $1.75 and a 1-year low of $0.25. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $0.37 and its 200-day moving average is $0.42.

On the ratings front, Piper Jaffray analyst Charles Duncan maintained a Hold rating on CTIC, with a price target of $0.75, in a report issued on August 29. The current price target implies an upside of 103% from current levels. According to TipRanks.com, Duncan has a yearly average return of -6.7%, a 35% success rate, and is ranked #3943 out of 4197 analysts.

CTI BioPharma Corp. operates as a biopharmaceutical company, which is focused on the acquisition, development, and commercialization novel targeted therapies covering a spectrum of blood-related cancers. Its products include Pixuvri, Pacritinib, Tosedostat and Opaxio.