SOURCE: Threshold Pharmaceuticals

Threshold Pharmaceuticals

September 08, 2015 07:00 ET

Threshold Pharmaceuticals Appoints Mark Hopkins, J.D., Ph.D., Vice President of Intellectual Property and Assistant General Counsel

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Sep 8, 2015) - Threshold Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: THLD) today announced the appointment of Mark Hopkins, J.D., Ph.D., as Vice President of Intellectual Property and Assistant General Counsel. In this newly created position, Dr. Hopkins will oversee worldwide intellectual property strategy and activities related to further advancement of Threshold's intellectual property portfolio for its investigational anti-cancer therapeutics, evofosfamide and tarloxotinib bromide*, and hypoxia-activated prodrug technology. Dr. Hopkins will also be responsible for oversight of corporate legal matters at Threshold.

Dr. Hopkins joins Threshold with more than 16 years of legal experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Threshold, Dr. Hopkins was a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend and Stockton LLP where he led a team of legal professionals providing legal opinions and securing patents for pharmaceutical companies on their key drugs and technologies.

"I am delighted to welcome Mark to our team," said Barry Selick, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Threshold. "Mark brings significant industry experience in intellectual property protection and will hit the ground running as he has been involved with the development of our patent strategy in his previous role as external patent counsel to Threshold. I look forward to Mark's contributions at this exciting time for Threshold as we anticipate top-line data around the end of this year from the two pivotal Phase 3 trials of evofosfamide. In addition, we recently launched an aggressive development plan for tarloxotinib, which is now the subject of two Phase 2 proof-of-concept trials with preliminary data expected in the first half of 2016. The addition of Mark to our team underscores our commitment to building and protecting the value of our two clinical assets and underlying hypoxia-activated prodrug technology."

Dr. Hopkins began his career as a scientist and patent agent with the Dow Chemical Company, where he eventually led a multidisciplinary team responsible for lead generation in several novel chemical applications. Dr. Hopkins was an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University, has a J.D., cum laude, from the John Marshall Law School, a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Irvine, and is the author of multiple legal and scientific publications.

About Evofosfamide

Evofosfamide (TH-302) is an investigational hypoxia-activated prodrug that is designed to be preferentially activated under severe tumor hypoxic conditions, a feature of many solid tumors. Areas of low oxygen levels (hypoxia) in solid tumors are due to insufficient blood vessel supply. Similarly, the bone marrow of patients with hematological malignancies has also been shown, in some cases, to be severely hypoxic.

Evofosfamide is currently in two Phase 3 trials, both of which are fully recruited: one in combination with doxorubicin versus doxorubicin alone in patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma (STS) (the TH-CR-406 trial), and the other in combination with gemcitabine versus gemcitabine and placebo in patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic pancreatic cancer (the MAESTRO trial). Both Phase 3 trials are being conducted under Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) agreements with the FDA. The FDA and the European Commission have granted evofosfamide Orphan Drug designation for the treatment of STS and pancreatic cancer. The FDA has also granted Fast Track designation for evofosfamide for both STS and pancreatic cancer. Evofosfamide is also being investigated in a Phase 2 trial designed to support registration for the treatment of non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer, and in earlier-stage clinical trials of other solid tumors and hematological malignancies.

Threshold has a global license and co-development agreement for evofosfamide with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which includes an option for Threshold to co-commercialize in the U.S.

About Tarloxotinib Bromide

Tarloxotinib bromide, or "tarloxotinib", (TH-4000) is a hypoxia-activated, covalent (irreversible) epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EGFR TKI) that targets the activating mutations of EGFR (L858R and Del19) and wild-type, or "normal", EGFR. Tarloxotinib is designed as a prodrug to selectively release its EGFR TKI upon encountering severe tumor hypoxia, a feature of many solid tumors. Accordingly, tarloxotinib has the potential to effectively shut down aberrant wild-type and mutant EGFR signaling in a tumor-selective manner, thus potentially avoiding or reducing the toxic side effects associated with currently available EGFR TKIs and systemic wild-type EGFR inhibition. Tarloxotinib is currently being evaluated in two Phase 2 proof-of-concept trials: one for the treatment of patients with mutant EGFR-positive, T790M-negative advanced non-small cell lung cancer progressing on an EGFR TKI and the other for patients with recurrent of metastatic squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck or skin. Threshold licensed exclusive worldwide rights to tarloxotinib from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in September 2014.

About Threshold Pharmaceuticals

Threshold Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of drugs targeting tumor hypoxia, the low oxygen condition found in the microenvironments of most solid tumors as well as the bone marrows of some patients with hematologic malignancies. This approach offers broad potential to treat a variety of cancers. By selectively targeting tumor cells, we are building a pipeline of drugs that hold promise to be more effective and less toxic to healthy tissues than conventional anticancer drugs. For additional information, please visit our website (www.thresholdpharm.com).

Forward-Looking Statements

Except for statements of historical fact, the statements in this press release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1943 and Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, including all statements regarding the Company's licensing activities, legal strategy and prospects, expectations regarding enhancing shareholder value and anticipated development activities and clinical development outlook related to company- and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany-sponsored clinical trials for evofosfamide, including anticipated enrollment events related to, and the planned conduct of data analyses of, ongoing evofosfamide clinical trials, and the timing thereof; the expected efficient execution of and the expected timing of and availability of the top-line results from the ongoing evofosfamide Phase 3 clinical trials; the potential submission of marketing applications for evofosfamide assuming the data from the Phase 3 clinical trials are supportive; the potential for Threshold's ongoing evofosfamide Phase 2 clinical trial to support registration for the treatment of patients with non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer; the potential therapeutic uses and benefits of evofosfamide to treat patients with STS, advanced pancreatic cancer, non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer and other cancers; the anticipated development activities and clinical development outlook for the two Phase 2 proof-of-concept clinical trials of tarloxotinib; and the ability of Threshold to build and protect the value of its two clinical assets and underlying hypoxia-activated prodrug technology. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that can cause actual results to differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements. Potential risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the ability of Threshold and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, to enroll or complete evofosfamide clinical trials, including the ability of Threshold and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, to complete the ongoing Phase 3 clinical trials of evofosfamide in the expected timeframe or at all; the risk that Threshold cannot predict with certainty when the top-line data from either of the evofosfamide Phase 3 clinical trials will be available; Threshold's dependence on its collaborative relationship with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, including its dependence on decisions by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, regarding the amount and timing of resource expenditures for the development of evofosfamide and the risk of potential disagreements with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, regarding the commencement of additional clinical trials or milestone payments; the difficulty and uncertainty of pharmaceutical product development, including the time and expense required to conduct clinical trials and analyze data, and the uncertainty of clinical success and regulatory approval; the risk that later trials may not confirm the results of earlier trials; the risks that the design of, or data collected from, the ongoing Phase 3 clinical trials of evofosfamide may be inadequate to demonstrate safety and efficacy, or otherwise may be insufficient to support any marketing authorization submissions and/or regulatory approvals, and that despite the potential benefits of the SPA agreements with the FDA and evofosfamide's Fast Track designations, significant uncertainty remains regarding the regulatory approval process for evofosfamide and that evofosfamide may not receive any marketing approvals in a timely manner or at all; issues arising in the regulatory process and the results of such clinical trials (including product safety issues and efficacy results); dependence of Threshold and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, on single source suppliers for evofosfamide, including the risk that these single source suppliers may be unable to meet clinical supply demands for evofosfamide which could significantly delay the development of evofosfamide; the risks that Threshold's evaluation of tarloxotinib is at an early stage and it is possible that tarloxotinib may not be found to be safe or effective in the ongoing Phase 2 proof-of-concept trials of tarloxotinib or in any other studies of tarloxotinib that Threshold may conduct, and that Threshold may otherwise fail to realize the anticipated benefits of its licensing of this product candidate; the risk that preclinical studies and Phase 1 or 2 clinical trials of our product candidates may not predict the results of subsequent human clinical trials, including the risks that tarloxotinib preclinical and Phase 1 clinical data may not accurately predict whether a safe and effective dose can be attained in the patient populations for tarloxotinib that Threshold is targeting; the ability of Threshold to enroll or complete planned tarloxotinib clinical trials, including as a result of Threshold's potential inability to develop a formulation of tarloxotinib with adequate quality that meets the specifications previously filed with the regulatory agency and that meets the need for testing in its clinical trials; Threshold's dependence on single source suppliers for tarloxotinib, including the risk that these single source suppliers may be unable to meet clinical supply demands for tarloxotinib which could significantly delay the development of tarloxotinib; and Threshold's need for and the availability of resources to develop evofosfamide and tarloxotinib and to support Threshold's operations. Further information regarding these and other risks is included under the heading "Risk Factors" in Threshold's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 30, 2015 and is available from the SEC's website (www.sec.gov) and on our website (www.thresholdpharm.com) under the heading "Investors". Notwithstanding changes that may occur with respect to matters relating to any forward looking statements, we undertake no duty to update any forward-looking statement made in this news release.

* Tarloxotinib bromide is the proposed International Nonproprietary Name (pINN)

Contact Information