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IDEC PHARMACEUTICALS ANNOUNCES ADVANCE AT INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE

 IDEC PHARMACEUTICALS ANNOUNCES ADVANCE
 AT INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE
 First Primatized Antibodies for Human Immunotherapy
 LA JOLLA and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NASDAQ: IDPH) today announced its development of "primatized" antibodies derived from human and macaque monkey antibodies. This new class of recombinant antibodies could potentially have an important impact on the treatment of a variety of medical problems, including autoimmune diseases, inflammatory conditions and transplant rejection. Details are being reported during a presentation today at the Second International Conference on Human Antibodies and Hybridomas being held in Cambridge, England.
 Speaking before a prestigious group of international researchers, Dr. Roland Newman, a senior scientist at IDEC Pharmaceuticals, reported that company research has shown the macaque monkey is genetically so close to humans that it produces antibodies which are structurally indistinguishable from human antibodies in their variable regions (the areas which attach to antigens). Company research also has shown that the macaque is genetically distant enough from humans to be able to produce antibodies against human antigens.
 "This means that near-human antibodies, including antibodies not normally made by the human immune system, can now be obtained with the aid of the macaque," commented IDEC's president, William H. Rastetter, Ph.D. "In addition, because of their structural similarity to human antibodies, we expect that these novel antibodies may allow for the development of safe and effective treatment for certain conditions that currently are untreatable with antibody therapy."
 IDEC Pharmaceuticals has found that the macaque can be immunized to make antibodies which react with human, but not with macaque, antigens and pose no apparent risk to the monkey. The cells producing these antibodies are then harvested by the same procedures used to obtain antibody-producing cells from humans. Working with these cells, company scientists apply genetic engineering techniques to isolate the portions of the macaque antibody gene which code for the antibody's variable regions. This genetic material is then combined with genetic material from a human antibody gene (specifically, the portions coding for the constant regions) and is expressed in a laboratory cell line. The end result is a primatized (part human, part macaque) antibody, which can be manufactured in quantity in a controlled environment outside the body.
 "Our objective with these primatized antibodies is to provide therapies which can be used to stop or inhibit diseases characterized by overactive immune reactions," Rastetter said. "This could include the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis, as well as the prevention of transplant rejection," he added.
 "As a practical first step," Newman said, "we immunized macaques with the human CD4 antigen and harvested the resulting antibody- producing immune cells. We then isolated the gene responsible for the production of the 'anti-CD4' antibody, developed a primatized antibody and produced laboratory-scale quantities of this antibody in cell culture. Upon analysis, we found that our antibody is very similar in structure to antibodies normally produced by humans against antigens. In addition," Dr. Newman noted, "laboratory studies showed that this antibody has a high affinity for the CD4 antigen and exhibits desirable immunosuppressive activities."
 "We are now developing a production process to provide quantities of this anti-CD4 antibody for preclinical testing," Rastetter said, "and we plan to initiate human clinical studies in 1993 for the treatment of an autoimmune disease. Beyond anti-CD4, we are developing other primatized antibodies for broad therapeutic applications."
 Primatized antibodies differ significantly from other types of antibodies. Mouse monoclonal antibodies, which are structurally quite different from human antibodies, are the most commonly available, but they tend to trigger adverse immune reactions when used as therapies. These reactions include an anti-mouse or "HAMA" response, in which the patient's immune system produces antibodies against the intended therapeutic agent, potentially limiting its therapeutic effectiveness. Chimeric or humanized (part human, part mouse) antibodies have been developed in an attempt to lessen the HAMA response. These antibody products function more naturally in the human immune system, but they too contain mouse antibody components capable of eliciting immune reactions that may reduce the therapeutic benefits.
 Under certain therapeutic conditions, the possible reactions to mouse or mouse-based chimeric antibodies are of minimal concern. This is particularly true with immunosuppressed patients, such as those with lymphomas, who tend to show little, if any, HAMA response. In other cases, an immune response against the antibody is actually necessary, since the treatment objective is to create immunity, as is the case with "therapeutic vaccines." However, with chronic diseases, which require repeated or continual therapy, reactions to mouse antibody components are a major concern and have -- until now -- made the use of antibody therapy for such conditions unfeasible.
 IDEC Pharmaceuticals' primatized antibodies are completely devoid of mouse antibody components. Concerns about anti-mouse immune reactions are therefore eliminated, and the ability to provide antibodies that function more naturally or fully in the human immune system is potentially greater. As a result, IDEC believes that antibody therapy may now be possible for the long term treatment of chronic diseases. The company has filed patent applications on its discoveries.
 IDEC Pharmaceuticals is a leader in the development of immunologically active monoclonal antibodies for therapeutic applications. Company products are designed to act through immune system mechanisms and may offer significant therapeutic advantages, such as specificity of action and duration of therapeutic effect, not available through the use of existing therapies. Current efforts are focused on the treatment of immune system cancers (lymphomas and leukemias), malignant melanoma, HIV infection and autoimmune disorders. Five products are in human clinical studies. The company's headquarters is located at 11099 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037. Phone: 619-458-0600.
 -0- 3/26/92
 /CONTACT: Clifford Orent, senior VP and COO of IDEC Pharmaceuticals, 415-940-1200/
 (IDPH) CO: IDEC Pharmaceuticals ST: California IN: MTC SU:


EH-DM -- SD001 -- 1818 03/26/92 09:02 EST
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