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Cell Therapeutics Initiating Rolling NDA Submission for Pixantrone

CTI to Request Priority Review

SEATTLE, April 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (CTI) (Nasdaq and MTA: CTIC) announced today that it began a rolling submission of a New Drug Application (NDA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for pixantrone to treat relapsed or refractory aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). CTI expects to complete the submission this quarter and will request priority review which if granted could lead to an approval decision from the FDA in Q4 2009.

"This is a significant milestone for CTI as we move pixantrone closer to addressing a truly significant unmet medical need for relapsed or refractory aggressive NHL patients," said James A. Bianco, M.D., CEO of CTI. "The commercialization of pixantrone will drive shareholder value as a result of the large market potential for this product. We believe that the recent significant investment in CTI by a single institutional investor reflects a growing interest in CTI and in particular in pixantrone by the investment community. With added financial resources, CTI can advance pixantrone through the NDA review process while we continue our progress on strategic business development opportunities and relationships."

CTI previously announced that its pivotal phase III (PIX 301) EXTEND trial had achieved its primary endpoint with patients randomized to treatment with pixantrone achieving a significantly higher rate of confirmed (CR) and unconfirmed complete remissions (CRu) compared to patients treated with standard chemotherapy (14/70 (20.0%) for pixantrone arm compared to 4/70 (5.7%) for the standard chemotherapy arm, p = 0.02) with no patients in the standard chemotherapy arm achieving a confirmed complete remission. Additionally, progression-free survival (PFS) results from this study show patients treated with pixantrone experienced a statistically significant improvement in median progression-free survival, compared with other single-agent chemotherapeutic agents (4.7 months vs. 2.6 months, p < 0.01, pixantrone vs. standard chemotherapy) based on an intent to treat analysis. Pixantrone treatment also significantly increased the overall response rate (CR/CRu+PR) (26/70 (37.1%) for pixantrone arm compared to 10/70 (14.3%) for the control arm, p = 0.003).

Pixantrone recipients had a low incidence of severe neutropenia complicated by either fever or documented infections, or severe vomiting or diarrhea. Pixantrone patients also experienced a low incidence of hair loss, a very common side effect of other drugs in this class. Overall, the incidence of serious adverse events was similar between pixantrone and the control arm. The pixantrone patients had a higher incidence of leucopenia and neutropenia and numerically more severe cardiac events (5 vs. 2) with only 1 considered related to the study drug by the investigator. Disease progression reported as an adverse event was less frequent in the pixantrone than in the control arm (1.5% vs. 13.4%).

The pixantrone study received Special Protocol Assessment approval from the FDA in 2004, and pixantrone has received fast track designation for this indication. The FDA's fast track programs are intended to expedite the review of drugs that treat serious or life-threatening conditions and demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs. The rolling submission process enables companies that have been granted fast track designation to submit sections of the NDA to the FDA as they become available, allowing the review process to begin before the complete dossier has been submitted.

About Pixantrone

Pixantrone (BBR 2778), is a novel major groove binder with an aza-anthracenedione molecular structure that differentiates it from the anthracyclines and other related chemotherapy agents. Anthracyclines are the cornerstone therapeutic for the treatment of lymphoma, leukemia, and breast cancer. Although they are sufficiently effective to be used as first-line (initial) treatment, they cause cumulative heart damage that may result in congestive heart failure many years later. As a result, there is a lifetime limit of anthracycline doses and most patients who previously have been treated with an anthracycline are not able to receive further anthracycline treatment if their disease returns. Pixantrone has been designed to reduce the potential for these severe cardiotoxicities without sacrificing anti-cancer activity. It also can be administered through a peripheral vein rather than a central implanted catheter as required for other drugs in this class.

About Cell Therapeutics, Inc.

Headquartered in Seattle, CTI is a biopharmaceutical company committed to developing an integrated portfolio of oncology products aimed at making cancer more treatable. For additional information, please visit

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This press release includes forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties, the outcome of which could materially and/or adversely affect actual future results. Specifically, the risks and uncertainties that could affect the development of pixantrone include risks associated with preclinical and clinical developments in the biopharmaceutical industry in general and with pixantrone in particular including the potential failure of pixantrone to prove safe and effective for treatment of relapsed aggressive NHL as determined by the FDA, the possibility that the NDA submission will not be completed in the second quarter of 2009, that priority review is not granted and that a decision by the FDA is not rendered in late 2009, the Company will be able to complete strategic partnerships, the Company's ability to continue to raise capital as needed to fund its operations, competitive factors, technological developments, costs of developing, producing and selling pixantrone, and the risk factors listed or described from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including, without limitation, the Company's most recent filings on Forms 10-K, 8-K, and 10-Q. Except as may be required by law, CTI does not intend to update or alter its forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

    Media Contact:
    Dan Eramian
    T: 206.272.4343
    C: 206.854.1200

    Investors Contact:
    Ed Bell
    T: 206.282.7100
    Lindsey Jesch Logan
    T: 206.272.4347
    F: 206.272.4434

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.

Jack W. Singer, M.D.

James A. Bianco, M.D.

SOURCE Cell Therapeutics, Inc.
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