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IDEC PHARMACEUTICALS REPORTS ON RESEARCH ADVANCE TO INCREASE DISEASE-FIGHTING POTENTIAL OF IMMUNE SYSTEM THERAPIES

 IDEC PHARMACEUTICALS REPORTS ON RESEARCH ADVANCE TO INCREASE
 DISEASE-FIGHTING POTENTIAL OF IMMUNE SYSTEM THERAPIES


Discovery May Enable Therapeutic Vaccines to Stimulate Killer T Cells
 and Antibodies Against HIV and Cancer Cells
 LA JOLLA and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NASDAQ: IDPH) recently announced results of early stage preclinical research on an Antigen Formulation that appears to enhance induction of disease-fighting cellular immunity. These results appear in the current issue (Sept. 1, 1992) of the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
 The reported research in mice successfully demonstrated the use of IDEC's Antigen Formulation to induce the production of beneficial killer T cells (CD8+ immune cells) against the AIDS-causing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Attempts throughout the pharmaceutical industry to induce cellular immunity safely and effectively have been generally unsuccessful in the past. The company's objective is to provide more effective therapeutic vaccines for the treatment of AIDS, other viral diseases and certain cancers.
 "We combined a recombinant version of the gp120 envelope protein of the AIDS virus with our Antigen Formulation and induced both killer T cells and antibodies in laboratory mice," said William H. Rastetter, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of IDEC Pharmaceuticals. "We have recently moved on to inoculate non-human primates with HIV gp120 plus Antigen Formulation to see if we can induce the same dual immunity in them," he added. "The extension of this methodology to primates may lead to more effective therapeutic vaccines against a wide range of human viral diseases and malignancies. We have filed U.S. and international patent applications on the Antigen Formulation technology."
 Dr. Syamal Raychaudhuri, an IDEC senior scientist and lead author on the published research, explained what differentiates IDEC Pharmaceuticals' discovery: "Normally, the only way to get a killer T-cell response is by natural infection, as happens with the use of a vaccine made from a live, attenuated virus. Many of today's vaccines use inert proteins that induce only an antibody response. In order to also stimulate a T-cell response, investigators have used genetic engineering techniques to incorporate portions of the disease antigen, such as HIV gp120, into another infectious agent that serves as a vector. These vectors have included viruses as well as bacteria. Their purpose has been to generate a mild, self-limiting infection that stimulates the production of disease-fighting T cells. These killer T cells seek out and eliminate virus-infected cells, while antibodies neutralize free virus particles. However, such live-vaccine approaches may pose safety risks, especially in immunocompromised patients.
 "In contrast," Dr. Raychaudhuri continued, "IDEC has been working on chemical compositions specifically designed to enhance immunity against administered antigens. Our Antigen Formulation is made of chemically defined components that appear to be relatively non-toxic when used in humans," he said. "In working with the combination of HIV gp120 plus Antigen Formulation, we demonstrated in mice the induction of both anti-HIV antibodies and killer T cells, known as CD8+, class I-restricted, antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes."
 Last month, Dr. Raychaudhuri was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to provide further proof of concept of these therapeutic vaccine systems.
 IDEC Pharmaceuticals is a leader in the development of immunologically active monoclonal antibodies for therapeutic applications. These agents 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. Current human clinical trials are focused on product candidates for the treatment of immune system cancers (lymphomas and leukemias), malignant melanoma, and HIV infection. The company is in earlier stages of preclinical testing of additional therapeutic agents for autoimmune diseases and cancer.
 IDEC Pharmaceuticals is headquartered at 11099 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037. Company operations are also located in Mountain View, CA.
 -0- 9/10/92
 /CONTACT: Richard W. Krawiec, director of investor relations and corporate communications, 619-458-0600, or Clifford Orent, senior VP and COO, 415-940-1200, both of IDEC Pharmaceuticals/
 (IDPH) CO: IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corp. ST: California IN: MTC SU:


JB-JL -- SD001 -- 7851 09/10/92 09:05 EDT
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Date:Sep 10, 1992
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