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IMMUNOGEN, INC. TO RECEIVE U.S. PATENT ON THE USE OF TARGETED CYTOTOXIC AGENTS FOR CANCER THERAPY

 IMMUNOGEN, INC. TO RECEIVE U.S. PATENT ON THE USE
 OF TARGETED CYTOTOXIC AGENTS FOR CANCER THERAPY
 CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- ImmunoGen, Inc. (NASDAQ: IMGN) today announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a Notice of Allowance for the company's patent application on the use of a family of highly potent chemical agents called maytansinoids. The allowed patent covers maytansinoids conjugated to monoclonal antibodies specific for tumor cell antigens. These compounds are designed to target and eliminate cancer cells and are considerably more potent than conventional chemotherapeutic agents.
 "This patent is the first ever granted for an immunoconjugate using maytansinoids," notes Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mitchel Sayare. "It also is the first ImmunoGen patent for our next generation of products. Using maytansinoids and other potent small-molecule drugs, we are developing immunoconjugates for the treatment of solid tumors. They will complement our first generation of highly potent immunoconjugates -- the Oncolysins(R) -- which are showing promise in clinical trials in the treatment of B-cell lymphomas and leukemias and in the treatment of small-cell lung cancer.
 "Because conventional chemotherapeutics are nonspecific and affect healthy tissue as well as tumor cells, they must be delivered in suboptimal doses which generally are not sufficient to yield a durable response," explains Walter Blattler, vice president, research. "Tumors then are often resistant to further therapy. Maytansinoids, on the other hand, like the blocked ricin toxin used in the Oncolysins, are too toxic to be used alone. ImmunoGen can conjugate targeting agents such as human proteins or humanized monoclonal antibodies to maytansinoids to direct their high potency specifically to cancer
cells." In animal studies, ImmunoGen researchers have shown that immunoconjugates containing maytansinoids target and eliminate tumor cells.
 Blattler also points out that "these compounds are not expected to be immunogenic, and therefore may be kept in circulation for extended periods of time. Further, because maytansinoids are small molecules, they can penetrate layers of tissue to debulk large tumors." The first clinical application is expected to be in squamous-cell carcinomas, which represent a large percentage of lung, colon and breast cancers, and cancers of the head and neck. Sixteen percent of all cancers are squamous-cell carcinomas.
 ImmunoGen, Inc. develops innovative therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and immune-mediated diseases. The company produces proprietary toxins conjugated to highly specific targeting agents which search out and destroy cancer cells. The company's first-generation products, the Oncolysins, are each comprised of a highly specific monoclonal antibody linked to blocked ricin, a proprietary derivative of the powerful plant toxin ricin.
 -0- 10/27/92
 /CONTACT: Mark Ratner, director, external communications of ImmunoGen, 617-661-9312/
 (IMGN) CO: ImmunoGen, Inc. ST: Massachusetts IN: HEA SU: PDT


CH -- NE003 -- 5179 10/27/92 08:29 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 27, 1992
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