(Copyright (c) 2002, PR Newswire)
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Immunomedics, Inc. (Nasdaq: IMMU) announced today that the Company's new humanized antibodies for the therapy of hematologic tumors, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and multiple myeloma (MM), were described in presentations made at the 44th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, in Philadelphia.
A new humanized antibody against the CD20 marker of normal and malignant B-lymphocytes, "hA20," was presented at the conference as a potential new therapeutic antibody for the management of patients with NHL and certain autoimmune diseases. The antibody developed by Immunomedics scientists was reported as having similar constructs as the humanized CD22-binding antibody, epratuzumab, already in advanced clinical trials for the therapy of NHL, both alone and in combination with rituximab, which is a chimeric antibody against CD20. It was found that the new hA20 antibody was similar to rituximab in binding to the CD20 of human NHL cells grown in cell culture or in mice, and that it was virtually identical to rituximab in controlling the growth of NHL in mice, extending survival over the controls (untreated) by over 400 to 600 per cent.
At a reception hosted by the Company, clinical investigators and analysts received information on another antibody for treating hematologic and other tumor types, "hLL1," which binds to the CD74 receptor expressed on a variety of normal and malignant cells, including NHL, MM, and melanoma. Because hLL1 rapidly internalizes into certain malignant cells, the company's Executive Vice President of Research and Development, Dr. Ivan Horak, suggested that it might be a preferred delivery agent for therapeutic isotopes and drugs.
The Company's Chairman and founder, Dr. David M. Goldenberg, also described other candidate therapeutic agents and technologies. By means of recombinant molecular engineering, new multivalent antibody constructs have been made for targeting cancer antigens and are being used in the pre- targeting, bispecific antibody technology under development by Immunomedics in collaboration with scientists from IBC Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a subsidiary of the Company. The new bispecific targeting constructs were made against carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), expressed on many carcinomas, including colorectal, lung, and breast, as well as a carrier peptide bearing a therapeutic agent. After the bispecific antibody is targeted to tumor by binding to CEA, the second carrier molecule bearing a therapeutic isotope is administered, and localizes the radiotherapeutic agent very selectively to the cancer cells by attaching to the second arm of the bispecific antibody.
"We are pleased to be able to present promising new antibodies and new targeting molecules to the scientific community," commented Immunomedics' President and CEO, Cynthia L. Sullivan. "We plan to bring the new humanized CD20 antibody into clinical trials in early 2003, and a drug-conjugated antibody into clinical trials by 2004. We are already in clinical trials in France, together with IBC Pharmaceuticals, with our first-generation bispecific antibody, " she commented further. "The new CD20 antibody is particularly attractive as a candidate for combination therapy with epratuzumab, since promising results in NHL therapy have been observed when epratuzumab has been combined with rituximab," she added.
Ms. Sullivan also explained: "The current additions to our clinical and regulatory departments, as well as expanding our manufacturing capacity, permit us to aggressively expand the clinical trials of existing and new therapeutic agents, both in hematologic and solid tumor types."
Immunomedics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development, manufacture and commercialization of diagnostic imaging and therapeutic products for the detection and treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Integral to these products are highly specific monoclonal antibodies and antibody fragments designed to deliver radioisotopes and chemotherapeutic agents to tumors and sites of infection. Immunomedics has six therapeutic product candidates in clinical trials and has two marketed diagnostic imaging products. The most advanced therapeutic product candidates are LymphoCide(R) (epratuzumab), which is in Phase II and Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and CEA-Cide(R) (labetuzumab), which is in Phase I/II clinical trials for the treatment of certain solid tumors.
This release, in addition to historical information, contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements, including statements regarding clinical trials, involve significant risks and uncertainties and actual results could differ materially from those expressed or implied herein. Factors that could cause such differences include, but are not limited to, risks associated with the development of novel therapeutic products (including clinical trials outcome and regulatory requirements/actions), competitive risks to marketed biopharmaceutical products and the future availability of financing and other sources of capital, as well as the risks discussed in the Immunomedics' Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2002 on file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.