NEW YORK (Reuters) - Michael Tardugno, chief executive of tiny Celsion Corp, is convinced he has a $1 billion cancer therapy on his hands with its ThermoDox treatment for liver cancer.
The company, with a market valuation of only about $70 million and all of 16 employees, is not trying to reinvent the wheel. But by placing a very old cancer drug - the chemotherapy doxorubicin - into a new delivery method and adding heat, Celsion believes it has a recipe for success that can address a large unmet need in cancer.
"Certainly this is a $1 billion drug," Tardugno told Reuters in an interview. He was not ready to predict multiple billions just yet and noted that all, of course, depends on positive data from its pivotal late stage trial.
Celsion said it could have initial data from its Phase III trial of 700 patients with primary liver cancer by the end of this year. Given the priority review status bestowed upon ThermoDox by health regulators in the United States and elsewhere, Celsion could have its first drug on the market in fairly short order.
"There's a chance if we execute perfectly here that we could be seeing an approval by the end of 2013," Tardugno said.
Reporting By Bill Berkrot; Editing by Gary Hill