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 MELIMMUNE-1 and MELIMMUNE-2 to be Developed
 in Clinic as Single Bivalent Cancer Vaccine
 SAN DIEGO, Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- At the First International Conference on Engineered Vaccines for Cancer and AIDS, held this past weekend in San Francisco, IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ: IDPH) reported two new findings on its MELIMMUNE(TM)-2 therapeutic vaccine product candidate for the treatment of malignant melanoma, an often deadly cancer of the skin and other organs. Laboratory analysis indicates that MELIMMUNE-2 enhances the human immune response by stimulating both anti-tumor antibodies and cell-mediated immunity against malignant melanoma.
 In a series of collaborative in vitro experiments conducted by J. Lee Murray, M.D., chief of the Experimental Immunotherapy Section, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, stimulation of human lymphocytes by MELIMMUNE-2 produced cytotoxic cells that specifically recognized and killed melanoma cells. In a second study, the human antibodies elicited by MELIMMUNE-2 in vaccinated patients specifically prevented the spread of human melanoma tumors in a mouse model of tumor metastasis. "These findings further strengthen the rationale for development of a therapeutic vaccine for melanoma," said James A. Merritt, M.D., senior director of clinical sciences at IDEC. "We believe that both the antibody and cell-mediated immune responses are important in contributing to the tumor stabilization or regression seen in a few patients with advanced melanoma during one of our Phase I/II human clinical studies," Dr. Merritt added.
 IDEC also announced today that based on independent, encouraging Phase I/II clinical trial testing with both MELIMMUNE-1 and MELIMMUNE-2, the company plans to develop the two product candidates as a single, bivalent vaccine. "IDEC now intends to go forward with a product candidate containing both agents, to be known as MELIMMUNE," said William H. Rastetter, Ph.D., IDEC's president and chief executive officer. "We believe this therapeutic vaccine will increase the patient's total anti-tumor immune response by stimulating reactions against two separate sites on the malignant melanoma cells," he added.
 IDEC plans the aggressive clinical development of MELIMMUNE as a bivalent vaccine comprised of MELIMMUNE-1 and MELIMMUNE-2 for two separate melanoma indications: inoperable metastatic disease, and in patients at risk of relapse following initial surgical removal of their tumor. Over 100,000 patients in the U.S. are at risk of relapse or suffer from metatastic disease. The incidence of malignant melanoma is rapidly increasing in the U.S.; by the year 2000 it is estimated that one in 90 Americans will contract this cancer in their lifetime.
 -- Under an existing IND, IDEC is scheduled to begin a Phase I/II immunogenicity study this month with MELIMMUNE to confirm that the bivalent vaccine induces a broader immune response than MELIMMUNE-1 or MELIMMUNE-2 alone -- both of which individually have produced favorable immune responses in human testing.
 -- Following successful completion of the immunogenicity study with bivalent MELIMMUNE, IDEC plans to file with the FDA a pivotal Phase III protocol to evaluate the benefit of the therapeutic vaccine to prevent or delay the relapse of melanoma in high-risk patients following surgical removal of their primary tumors. These human studies, which are designed to lead to product registration, could begin as early as 3Q 1994, subject to FDA approval. For these studies, IDEC plans to use material from its new biologicals manufacturing facility which will serve both clinical and commercial needs. Unlike whole-cell therapeutic vaccines for melanoma, MELIMMUNE components are well defined and fully characterized biological molecules that can be readily and reproducibly manufactured.
 -- IDEC has conducted a small Phase I/II study with MELIMMUNE-2 in patients with inoperable metastatic disease. These individuals typically have a poor prognosis and short life expectancy, and have no satisfactory alternatives to highly toxic, conventional treatment. Based on initial evidence of tumor regression or disease stabilization in a few patients, IDEC is preparing to expand into multi-center Phase II clinical students, combining MELIMMUNE therapy with other agents to improve the prognosis for these patients.
 IDEC Pharmaceuticals is focused on the development of targeted immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. The company's most advanced product candidates include pan-B antibodies to treat B-cell lymphomas, MELIMMUNE(TM) antibodies to treat malignant melanoma, and a PRIMATIZED(TM) anti-CD4 antibody to treat autoimmune diseases. These agents typically are designed to act through immune system mechanisms and potentially offer greater specificity of action, longer therapeutic effect and lower toxicity than is typical of existing therapies. They also can be administered in outpatient settings, providing the opportunity to reduce overall treatment costs.
 IDEC Pharmaceuticals is located at 11011 Torreyana Road, San Diego, CA 92121.
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 /CONTACT: Richard W. Krawiec, director, Investor Relations, and Corporate Communications, or William H. Rastetter, president and CEO, of IDEC Pharmaceuticals, 619-550-8656/

CO: IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corporation ST: California IN: MTC SU:

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 4, 1993

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