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Originally published March 16, 2009 at 12:54 PM | Page modified March 16, 2009 at 12:57 PM

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Cell Therapeutics says board will evaluate strategies; Q4 loss widens

Cell Therapeutics lost $41.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, while narrowing its total operating expenses by 69 percent to $11.2 million, the Seattle biotechnology...

By Seattle Times business staff

Cell Therapeutics lost $41.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, while narrowing its total operating expenses by 69 percent to $11.2 million, the Seattle biotechnology company reported today.

The company also said its board "is engaged in an evaluation of short- and long-term strategic business development opportunities and operational efficiencies," and has approved hiring a financial adviser for that process. Even after selling its stake in the drug Zevalin, Cell Therapeutics will need to raise more money this year to keep operating.

Spokesman Dan Eramian would not say what alternatives the board is considering. He said the company's resources will be focused on what it considers the most promising drug candidate in its portfolio: pixantrone, a potential treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Cell Therapeutics' net loss for last year's final quarter was slightly higher than the $39.1 million it lost in the same quarter of 2007. But because the company has issued so many new shares in the past year, the fourth-quarter loss per share was just 52 cents in 2008, versus $7.44 in 2007.

Cell Therapeutics said its operational expenses for the quarter shrank due to reduced R&D costs, and it recorded a gain of $9.4 million on the sale of a 50 percent stake in its only approved product, Zevalin, a radioimmunotherapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The company sold its remaining stake in Zevalin during the first quarter for about $16.5 million.

The company said it ended 2008 with cash and equivalents of approximately $10.7 million.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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