IMMUNEX IL-1 RECEPTOR CLINICAL TRIALS BEGIN; FIRST STEP IN AGGRESSIVE CLINICAL RESEARCH PROGRAM
IMMUNEX IL-1 RECEPTOR CLINICAL TRIALS BEGIN;
FIRST STEP IN AGGRESSIVE CLINICAL RESEARCH PROGRAM
SEATTLE, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Immunex Corp. (NASDAQ: IMNX) today announced the start of Phase I clinical trials of Interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor, the first of a new class of genetically engineered soluble cytokine receptors.
The initial Phase I clinical trial will test the ability of IL-1 receptor to inhibit allergic reactions to skin allergens. The study will be conducted at Swedish Hospital Medical Center in Seattle. An aggressive clinical program is planned to investigate IL-1 receptor in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, acute and chronic myelogenous leukemia and graft versus host disease.
More than 10 million Americans seek treatment each year for allergic and asthmatic conditions More than two million patients in the United States seek treatment for "classical" rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammatory bowel disease afflicts approximately 400,000 patients in the United States each year.
"Inhibition of IL-1 may be important in treating a number of diseases," said Cindy Jacobs, Ph.D., M.D., Immunex assistant director, clinical research. "In preclinical studies, soluble IL-1 receptor inhibited IL-1 activity to the same degree as other antagonists, but at one-hundredth to one-thousandth the dose. Thus, IL-1 receptor may have the potential advantage of much smaller dose requirements over other antagonists of IL-1 in the body."
IL-1 is a potent mediator of inflammation. It is a cytokine, or immune-system protein, that controls biological functions by binding with unique structures called receptors that exist on the surface of cells. In some cases, the body may overproduce or turn on production of cytokines at the wrong time, causing autoimmune conditions. In preclinical research, IL-1 receptor has been shown to intercept IL-1 before it can bind to the cell and trigger an inflammatory response.
"Soluble receptors may prove to be an important approach to regulating the body's immune response," said Steven Gillis, Ph.D. Immunex executive vice president. "We have already found tremendous therapeutic value in using cytokines to accelerate immune response. Use of soluble cytokine receptors may allow us to turn off autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or allergy by blocking inappropriate cytokine-driven reactions. We look forward to pioneering this approach in a variety of clinical indications."
Immunex scientists are initially interested in the potential ability of soluble IL-1 receptor in inhibit immune reactions to skin allergens, a model for inhibition of a variety of inflammatory conditions including allergic rhinitis and asthma. In preclinical research, positive results were obtained in animal models of allergy, arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Current therapies for patients with these diseases address the symptoms but not the cause of these immune disorders; many of these therapies have side effects. By counteracting a specific immune response without depressing all immune function, soluble receptors may be able to turn off the underlying cause of the disease.
IL-1 receptor is the second Immunex-developed product to enter clinical trials this year. The company recently announced the start of clinical trials of PIXY321, a genetically engineered protein that stimulates the growth of white blood cells and platelets. The drug is being investigated in cancer patients suffering from chemotherapy or radiation therapy-induced blood disorders.
Clinical trials of another Immunex-developed soluble receptor, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor, are planned to begin in 1992. TNF receptor may have potential to treat sepsis and septic shock, conditions that affect up to 500,000 patients in the United States every year.
Immunex licensed U.S. rights for its receptor products to Receptech Corp. (NASDAQ: RECP), which was formed by Immunex in 1989 to fund receptor development. Receptech is developing products to treat conditions such as allergy, asthma, diabetes, cachexia and septic shock. Immunex has an option to license or buy back Receptech products, for cash or exchange of common stock.
Immunex is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the research, development, manufacture and marketing of products to treat cancer and autoimmune disease. Immunex is developing an extensive portfolio of therapeutic products which have the potential to treat a wide range of immune-system disorders.
CONTACT: Jason Rubin or Valoree Dowell of Immunex Corp., 206-587-0430/
(IMNX RECP) CO: Immunex Corp.; Receptech Corp. ST: Washington IN: MTC SU: JH-LM -- SE001 -- 1087 11/05/91 08:32 EST