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 SAN DIEGO, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ: IDPH) has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin human testing of a PRIMATIZED(TM) anti-CD4 antibody for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. A Phase I clinical study is expected to begin soon to determine product safety, tolerance and pharmacology, as well as to monitor potential therapeutic activity.
 The FDA clearance for human testing triggers a number of events under the company's Collaborative Research and License Agreement with its development partner, SmithKline Beecham. During a six-month period commencing today, S.R. One, Ltd., SmithKline Beecham's venture capital subsidiary, will make open-market purchases totaling $1.2 million of IDEC common stock, in compliance with Rule 10b-18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. S.R. One will also purchase 200,000 warrants from the company that may be exercised and converted to newly issued IDEC common stock for $12 per share. Separately, SmithKline Beecham will make a cash milestone payment to IDEC based on receipt of the FDA clearance for human testing.
 "Human testing of the anti-CD4 antibody for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis represents the first therapeutic use of PRIMATIZED antibodies," said Antonio Grillo-Lopez, M.D., vice president of medical and regulatory affairs of IDEC Pharmaceuticals. "An estimated 2.5 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, often with severe consequences," Grillo-Lopez said. "Preclinical studies suggest that PRIMATIZED antibodies may offer broad potential for the long-term management of this and other chronic diseases that may not be treatable with other types of antibodies."
 PRIMATIZED antibodies are a genetically engineered combination of macaque monkey and human antibody components. These novel antibodies differ significantly from antibodies that are of mouse origin or that contain mouse components and may be rejected by the human immune system when used repeatedly. Because of their structural similarity to human antibodies, PRIMATIZED antibodies have the potential to function more naturally and actively in the human immune system.
 "In the case of rheumatoid arthritis," Grillo-Lopez said, "we believe the PRIMATIZED anti-CD4 antibody will suppress abnormal immune activity that is characteristic of the disease and thus potentially prevent the inflammatory changes in the patient's joints that can lead to crippling deformities."
 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, as well as the PRIMATIZED 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.
 Why PRIMATIZED Antibodies
 "In the past, antibody-based therapeutic agents have not offered suitable treatment options for chronic conditions -- due to the source of the antibodies, typically mice," Grillo-Lopez said. "In long-term treatment, as would be required for rheumatoid arthritis, the patient's immune system recognizes mouse antibody components as `foreign' and responds with either an allergic reaction or an immune rejection of the therapeutic agent," he said. "Most antibody-based therapies are therefore applicable for the short-term treatment of acute conditions.
 "With the development of PRIMATIZED antibodies, we hope to overcome this limitation," Grillo-Lopez said. "PRIMATIZED antibodies contain no mouse elements whatsoever and are structurally so similar to human antibodies that the patient's body can potentially accept them as `self.' Our objective is to use PRIMATIZED antibodies for the long-term management of a variety of chronic, as well as acute, conditions."
 IDEC'S Agreement with SmithKline Beecham
 The collaboration between IDEC Pharmaceuticals and SmithKline Beecham currently is focused on the worldwide development and commercialization of PRIMATIZED anti-CD4 antibodies for autoimmune diseases. Signed in October 1992 and expanded in February 1993, this agreement has the potential to reach over $50 million in milestone payments to IDEC, plus funding of certain research and development. IDEC has retained copromotion rights to PRIMATIZED anti-CD4 antibodies in the United States and Canada, and in addition will receive royalties on SmithKline Beecham's worldwide sales of any such product. The initial treatment target is rheumatoid arthritis. Potential future application of PRIMATIZED anti-CD4 antibodies include the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.
 During the product development phase, IDEC Pharmaceuticals is responsible for preclinical development, initial supplies of clinical- grade antibody and early human clinical studies. The company has produced the anti-CD4 antibody about to enter human clinical testing, using its PRIMATIZED antibody technology and a recently developed, proprietary, expression system that is proving to be highly productive. SmithKline Beecham will carry out later-stage development efforts, contributing its well established infrastructure to advance product development as rapidly as possible through large-scale human clinical studies and the regulatory approval process.
 IDEC's Other PRIMATIZED Antibodies
 Independent of SmithKline Beecham, IDEC Pharmaceuticals is continuing to develop new PRIMATIZED antibodies and evaluate their potential for arresting or slowing disease processes associated with a variety of diseases.
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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 Corp. ST: California IN: MTC SU:

BP-JB -- SD002 -- 8720 08/03/93 08:38 EDT
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Date:Aug 3, 1993

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