Spain's Zeltia Says Drugs Working Well In Trials

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish biotechnology company Zeltia said on Thursday that presentations by doctors at a cancer congress in Florida had shown its compounds were working well in preclinical trials on sarcomas and leukaemia.

Researchers doing laboratory tests on compounds Yondelis and Aplidin reported progress, and the congress heard results about other drugs that Zeltia's unit PharmaMar has in the pipeline.

Zeltia, which has a marketing agreement with Johnson & Johnson to develop its most advanced drug Yondelis, does not yet have any compounds on sale.

Yondelis, which was refused clearance for treatment of soft tissue sarcomas by the European drug regulator last year, was tested on sarcoma cells taken from patients who had not undergone chemotherapy and was found to inhibit the cells' spread, the congress heard.

Doctors from the Spanish National Cancer Centre said the findings confirmed "a unique mode of action for Yondelis distinct from that of all other anti-cancer drugs" and that the compound also worked on tumours resistant to conventional therapy.

Aplidin had proved effective against leukaemia blasts and at the same time was not toxic to bone marrow, another doctor reported, adding that this gave it "a high therapeutic index in haematological malignancies".

Phase II trials of Aplidin for resistant leukaemia and lymphoma are due to start later this year.

Zeltia shares gained earlier this month amid speculation there could be good news about its drugs at the Orlando congress of the American Association for Cancer Research this week.

By 0850 GMT on Thursday the shares were up 1.6 percent compared with a rise of 0.6 percent in the health sector of the Dow Jones European Stoxx index.

MeSH Headings: Drugs, Investigational

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