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IDEC PHARMACEUTICALS RECEIVES NOTICE OF U.S. PATENT ALLOWANCE FOR MELIMMUNE(TM)-2 CANCER VACCINE: THERAPEUTIC TO TREAT MELANOMA

 LA JOLLA, Calif., June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ: IDPH) has received a Notice of Allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a patent covering its MELIMMUNE(TM)-2 therapeutic vaccine against melanoma. The patent is expected to issue in late 1993 and is entitled "Anti-Idiotypic Antibodies to Human Melanoma-Associated Proteoglycan Antigen."
 MELIMMUNE-2 is designed to stimulate the patient's immune system to produce antibodies that specifically target malignant melanoma cells. The occurrence of melanoma, an often deadly form of skin cancer, has tripled in the past 40 years. Presently, there are 200,000 Americans with diagnosed melanoma, 80,000 of whom are at risk of relapse despite surgical removal of skin lesions. Once the disease recurs, having metastasized to other organs, there is no adequate treatment. The objective of using MELIMMUNE-2 is to create an immunity to the cancer immediately following surgery to remove primary cutaneous tumors, thereby enabling the patient's immune system to eliminate any residual melanoma cells and prevent the spread of the disease within the body.
 Generally, the immune system reacts inadequately to cancer cells, because it perceives them as "self" and mounts only a weak or limited immune response to rid the body of them. MELIMMUNE-2 stimulates a subset of immune system cells to produce anti-tumor antibodies directed against malignant melanoma cells.
 IDEC has conducted Phase I/II clinical studies with MELIMMUNE-2, and a related vaccine product candidate, MELIMMUNE(TM)-1, in over 100 patients at seven medical centers in the United States. As reported at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting last month, anti-tumor antibodies were seen in a majority of the patients who received either form of MELIMMUNE after surgical removal of their primary tumor. In a separate, limited Phase I/II study with inoperable melanoma patients, objective evidence of tumor regression has been observed in a few individuals who were treated with MELIMMUNE-2. Based on these encouraging results, IDEC plans a Phase II study in inoperable disease in late 1993. In 1994, the company anticipates initiating a pivotal Phase III study in post-surgery melanoma patients, using MELIMMUNE antibodies produced in the company's new manufacturing facility.
 IDEC Pharmaceuticals is focused on the development of targeted immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. Within this strategic focus, the company's most advanced product candidates are directed at the treatment of B-cell lymphomas, malignant melanoma and rheumatoid arthritis. 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, potentially helping to reduce overall treatment costs.
 IDEC Pharmaceuticals is currently located at 11099 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037. On June 28, 1993, the company will be moving to its new corporate headquarters at 11011 Torreyana Road, San Diego, CA 92121, 619-550-8500.
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 /CONTACT: Richard Krawiec, director of investor relations and corporate communications, or William H. Rastetter, president and CEO, of IDEC Pharmaceuticals, 619-458-0600/
 (IDPH)


CO: IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corp. ST: California IN: MTC SU: PDT

539 06-17-93 12:00 EDT JB-JL -- SD002R -- 3179 06/17/93 14:23 EDT
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Date:Jun 17, 1993
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