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IMMUNOGEN, INC. ENGINEERS HUMANIZED MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY USING NOVEL RESURFACING TECHNIQUE

 CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- ImmunoGen, Inc. (NASDAQ: IMGN) today announced that it has successfully developed a humanized antibody using a new technique called resurfacing. The company and its collaborators have filed a patent application on the use of resurfacing, which ImmunoGen believes will have broad utility in the humanization of monoclonal antibodies.
 "Humanized antibodies are a critical component of ImmunoGen's second-generation immunoconjugates," states Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mitchel Sayare. "These immunoconjugates are comprised of potent, small-molecule drugs linked to humanized antibodies which specifically target tumor cells. They are designed to be nonimmunogenic to permit repeated dosing for long-term cancer treatment and other therapeutic applications." Sayare adds that "ImmunoGen has now humanized the antibody used in Oncolysin S, our immunoconjugate for the treatment of small-cell lung cancer, using two methods -- CDR grafting and our novel resurfacing technique. Both the more-conventional CDR-grafted antibody and the resurfaced antibody bind to the target antigen with the same tenacity as the original antibody."
 "To be effective," observes Walter Blattler, ImmunoGen vice president, research, "a humanized antibody must retain the essential characteristic of high-affinity binding to its target." The complementarity determining regions, or CDRs, of an antibody are responsible for high-affinity binding. In CDR grafting, they are mounted onto a human framework so that the antibody appears human. "However," notes Blattler, "this entails making changes in amino acids in the framework region to ensure that the CDRs remain in the same conformation.
 "Resurfacing leaves the original antibody framework intact by changing only the surface accessible regions of the antibody to make it appear human," Blattler explains. "The method causes fewer disturbances in the native antibody structure. When applied generally to the humanization of antibodies, we expect to have a higher likelihood of retaining high-affinity binding. In fact, our first attempt at resurfacing the Oncolysin S antibody was successful. Further, while use of CDR grafting already has been patented, resurfacing is a technique we believe is proprietary to ImmunoGen. Using a resurfaced antibody in our products obviates the need to pay certain license fees and may open up the possibility of out-licensing rights to the technique to other companies."
 "Small-drug immunoconjugates are intended for use as tumor debulking agents," according to ImmunoGen CEO Sayare. "They will complement our first generation of products, the Oncolysins(R), which are designed for use as post-remission consolidation therapy. Both the Oncolysins and our immunoconjugates using small drugs are substantially more potent than conventional chemotherapeutics. They deliver that potency specifically to tumor cells. Their development will enable ImmunoGen to address an urgent, unmet medical need by providing oncologists with effective products for the treatment of cancer patients to consolidate remissions following initial therapy and to treat patients in relapse."
 ImmunoGen, Inc. develops innovative therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and immune-mediated diseases. The company produces proprietary toxins and drugs conjugated to highly specific targeting agents which search out and destroy cancer cells. The company's first- generation products, the Oncolysins, each are comprised of a highly specific monoclonal antibody linked to blocked ricin, a proprietary derivative of the powerful plant toxin, ricin. The Oncolysins are designed for use as post-remission consolidation therapy. The company's small-drug immunoconjugates are intended for use as tumor debulking agents for first-line cancer therapy and for use in relapsed patients.
 -0- 2/3/93
 /CONTACT: Mark Ratner, director, external communications, of ImmunoGen, 617-661-9312/


CO: ImmunoGen, Inc. ST: Massachusetts IN: MTC SU:

SJ -- NE003 -- 2240 02/03/93 09:07 EST
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Date:Feb 3, 1993
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