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Citius Pharmaceuticals Announces Addition of City of Hope to UMN's Phase 1 Trial of LYMPHIR in Combination with CAR-T for the Treatment of B-Cell Lymphoma

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Citius Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (CTXR) collaborates with the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center and City of Hope to expand Phase 1 trial of LYMPHIR plus CAR-T therapy for B-cell lymphomas. The study aims to determine the maximum tolerated dose and evaluate the potential benefits of LYMPHIR in combination with CAR-T treatment.
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The expansion of the Phase 1 trial involving LYMPHIR in combination with CAR-T therapy represents a significant step in advancing cancer treatment protocols, particularly for B-cell lymphomas. The inclusion of City of Hope as an additional study site not only broadens the patient base but also integrates diverse clinical expertise into the study. From an oncological perspective, the focus on maximizing the efficacy of CAR-T therapy by targeting regulatory T-cells within the tumor microenvironment is a promising approach. Regulatory T-cells often suppress the immune response against cancer cells and their depletion could potentially enhance the CAR-T cells' ability to attack the tumor.

Furthermore, the study's design to test the synergy between LYMPHIR and standard CAR-T products in patients at high risk for progression post-CAR-T therapy could lead to significant improvements in patient outcomes. The exploration of the maximum tolerated dose is important for establishing a safe yet effective dosage that could be used in future treatment regimens. Should the trial yield positive results, it may pave the way for new protocols that could be rapidly adopted in clinical practice, potentially benefiting a broad spectrum of patients with B-cell lymphomas.

The strategic collaboration between Citius Pharmaceuticals and the University of Minnesota to include City of Hope in the Phase 1 trial is indicative of the trial's promising nature and its potential impact on future cancer treatments. As a medical research analyst, it is notable that the trial is investigator-initiated, which often suggests a strong belief in the therapeutic's potential by the clinical community. The trial's aim to augment lymphodepletion, a critical step in enhancing CAR-T therapy's effectiveness, could be transformative if LYMPHIR proves to increase the anti-tumor activity of CAR-T cells.

Investors and stakeholders should monitor the trial's progress closely, as positive interim results could lead to increased investor confidence and potentially influence Citius's stock valuation. The trial's outcomes could also have implications for the broader field of oncology therapeutics, potentially attracting partnerships or additional funding for further research. However, it is essential to remain cautious, as early-phase trials carry significant risk and successful results are not guaranteed. The long-term impact will depend on the trial's outcomes, regulatory approvals and the ability of Citius to successfully commercialize the therapy if it proves effective.

The decision to expand the Phase 1 trial to City of Hope is a strategic move that could have implications for Citius Pharmaceuticals' market positioning. From a market research perspective, the collaboration with a NCI-designated center like City of Hope not only lends credibility to the study but also potentially expedites patient enrollment, given the center's reputation and resources. This can accelerate the trial timeline, which is often a critical factor for investors and stakeholders monitoring the development progress.

Moreover, the focus on B-cell lymphomas, a market with significant unmet medical needs, suggests that Citius is targeting a therapy area with substantial commercial potential. Should the trial prove successful, Citius could capture a sizable market share in the CAR-T space, which is currently dominated by a few key players. The company's ability to demonstrate a clear differentiation in the efficacy and safety profile of LYMPHIR in combination with CAR-T therapy could position it favorably against competitors. However, the market dynamics of oncology treatments are complex and success in clinical trials does not always translate to market success. Factors such as pricing, reimbursement and adoption by the medical community will ultimately determine the commercial viability of the treatment.

National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated research and treatment center City of Hope, in Duarte, CA, to participate in the University of Minnesota (UMN) Masonic Cancer Center's ongoing Phase 1 trial to determine the maximum tolerated dose of LYMPHIR plus CAR-T therapy

CRANFORD, N.J., April 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Citius Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Citius" or the "Company") (Nasdaq: CTXR), a late-stage biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing first-in-class critical care products, today announced that the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center intends to expand their ongoing investigator-initiated Phase 1 trial of LYMPHIR™ (denileukin diftitox) in combination with FDA-approved CAR-T products for the treatment of B-cell lymphomas. The ongoing study, led by Dr. Veronika Bachanova at the University of Minnesota (UMN), will include an additional study site at City of Hope (COH), a world-renowned cancer treatment and research institution, with Dr. Matthew Mei as the principal site investigator at COH. City of Hope is one of only 53 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S.

"We are encouraged by the scientific community's interest in exploring the potential benefits of LYMPHIR beyond cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, for which a Biologics License Application is currently under review by the FDA. We are very excited to support UMN's expansion of its study to City of Hope as distinguished oncologists Dr. Bachanova and Dr. Mei conduct innovative research to evaluate LYMPHIR in combination with CAR-T treatment," stated Dr. Myron Czuczman, Chief Medical Officer of Citius. "This first-of-its-kind study will evaluate the potential value that transient depletion of T-regs within the tumor microenvironment by LYMPHIR has upon CAR-T-based anti-tumor activity," added Dr. Czuczman. 

"This trial is designed to augment lymphodepletion prior to CAR-T cells by administration of targeted immunotoxin against IL-2 receptor-positive regulatory T-cells. The lymphodepleting chemotherapy augmented with LYMPHIR was combined with all three standard of care CAR-T products for diffuse large B-cell lymphomas in second or third line of therapy. We look forward to welcoming patients from City of Hope as we expand the trial and evaluate the maximum tolerated dose," stated principal investigator Veronika Bachanova, MD, PhD, Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota.

Citius is collaborating with the University of Minnesota (UMN) in this investigator-initiated study. This Phase 1 dose-finding study to evaluate LYMPHIR prior to CAR-T therapies tisagenlecleucel (KYMRIAH®), axicabtagene ciloleucel (YESCARTA®), or lisocabtagene maraleucel/BREYANZI®), in patients with B-cell lymphomas (BCL) (NCT0485525) was initiated in May 2021 and has been expanded to include City of Hope. Enrollment is underway for patients diagnosed with relapsed or refractory BCL, for which treatment with CAR-Ts is planned, and who are considered at high risk for progression after CAR-T therapy. 

About University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center

The Masonic Cancer Center serves as the hub for cancer research at the University of Minnesota. More than 600 members apply their expertise to the broad problem of cancer with research in cancer causes, prevention, treatment, outcomes, and survivorship. Founded in 1991, the cancer center became a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1998, one of only 53 institutions in the United States and two in Minnesota to hold that designation.

About City of Hope

City of Hope, a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center, is a world-renowned pioneer in cancer research, treatment and prevention. City of Hope's mission is to deliver the cures of tomorrow to the people who need them today. Founded in 1913, City of Hope has grown into one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the U.S. and one of the leading research centers for diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses. City of Hope research has been the basis for numerous breakthrough cancer medicines, as well as human synthetic insulin and monoclonal antibodies. City of Hope brings a uniquely integrated model to patients spanning cancer care, research and development, academics and training, and innovation initiatives. City of Hope's growing national system includes its Los Angeles campus, a network of clinical care locations across Southern California, a new cancer center in Orange County, California, and treatment facilities in Atlanta, Chicago and Phoenix. City of Hope's affiliated group of organizations includes Translational Genomics Research Institute and AccessHope.

About Citius Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Citius Pharma is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development and commercialization of first-in-class critical care products. The Company's diversified pipeline includes two late-stage product candidates. At the end of 2023, Citius completed enrollment in a Phase 3 pivotal superiority trial of Mino-Lok®, an antibiotic lock solution to salvage catheters in patients with catheter-related bloodstream infections. Citius resubmitted the Biologics License Application for LYMPHIR, a novel IL-2R immunotherapy for an initial indication in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, in early 2024, and announced plans to form Citius Oncology, a standalone publicly traded company with LYMPHIR as its primary asset. LYMPHIR received orphan drug designation by the FDA for the treatment of CTCL and PTCL. In addition, Citius completed enrollment in its Phase 2b trial of CITI-002 (Halo-Lido), a topical formulation for the relief of hemorrhoids. For more information, please visit www.citiuspharma.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such statements are made based on our expectations and beliefs concerning future events impacting Citius. You can identify these statements by the fact that they use words such as "will," "anticipate," "estimate," "expect," "plan," "should," and "may" and other words and terms of similar meaning or use of future dates. Forward-looking statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could negatively affect our business, operating results, financial condition and stock price.  Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those currently anticipated are: risks relating to the results of research and development activities, including those from existing and new pipeline assets; uncertainties relating to preclinical and clinical testing; the early stage of products under development; our need for substantial additional funds; our ability to commercialize our products if approved by the FDA; our dependence on third-party suppliers; our ability to procure cGMP commercial-scale supply; the estimated markets for our product candidates and the acceptance thereof by any market; the ability of our product candidates to impact the quality of life of our target patient populations; our ability to obtain, perform under and maintain financing and strategic agreements and relationships; market and other conditions; our ability to attract, integrate, and retain key personnel; risks related to our growth strategy; patent and intellectual property matters; our ability to identify, acquire, close and integrate product candidates and companies successfully and on a timely basis; government regulation; competition; as well as other risks described in our SEC filings. These risks have been and may be further impacted by Covid-19 and could be impacted by any future public health risks. Accordingly, these forward-looking statements do not constitute guarantees of future performance, and you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Risks regarding our business are described in detail in our Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") filings which are available on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov, including in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2023, filed with the SEC on December 29, 2023, and updated by our subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof, and we expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in our expectations or any changes in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based, except as required by law.

KYMRIAH® is a registered trademark of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

YESCARTA® is a registered trademark of Kite Pharma, Inc., a Gilead Sciences, Inc. company.

BREYANZI® is a registered trademark of Juno Therapeutics, Inc., a Bristol Myers Squibb company.

Investor Contact:

Ilanit Allen
ir@citiuspharma.com
908-967-6677 x113

Media Contact:

STiR-communications
Greg Salsburg
Greg@STiR-communications.com 

Citius Pharmaceuticals, a late-stage biopharmaceutical company (PRNewsfoto/Citius Pharmaceuticals, Inc.)

 

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SOURCE Citius Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

FAQ

What is the purpose of the Phase 1 trial involving Citius Pharmaceuticals, University of Minnesota, and City of Hope?

The Phase 1 trial aims to determine the maximum tolerated dose of LYMPHIR plus CAR-T therapy for the treatment of B-cell lymphomas.

Who is leading the ongoing Phase 1 trial at the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center?

The ongoing Phase 1 trial is led by Dr. Veronika Bachanova at the University of Minnesota.

What is the significance of City of Hope's participation in the Phase 1 trial?

City of Hope's participation brings additional expertise in cancer treatment and research to evaluate LYMPHIR in combination with CAR-T therapy.

Which FDA-approved CAR-T products are being used in the Phase 1 trial?

The Phase 1 trial includes FDA-approved CAR-T products such as tisagenlecleucel (KYMRIAH®), axicabtagene ciloleucel (YESCARTA®), and lisocabtagene maraleucel (BREYANZI®).

When was the Phase 1 trial initiated, and what is the current status of enrollment?

The Phase 1 trial was initiated in May 2021, and enrollment is underway for patients diagnosed with relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphomas.

Citius Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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