Immunomedics promotes 2 cancer treatments to later-stage trials

Immunomedics ($IMMU) has generated mostly promising data from two new lymphoma treatments that use the company's "Dock-and-Lock" targeted drug delivery technology.

The company describes the DNL tech, developed with subsidiary IBC Pharmaceuticals, as a blend of "conjugation chemistry and genetic engineering" that allows the creation of new more biologically active treatments that can be delivered selectively to diseases.

The first was a Phase I/II trial looking at safety, dosing and response rate, involved using the novel anti-CD74 antibody milatuzumab in conjunction with the second-generation anti-CD20 antibody veltuzumab, in patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma who had at least one other treatment. Ohio State University researchers who conducted the study said 14 of 18 patients demonstrated some evidence of antitumor activity. Dr. Lapo Alinari of the university's Comprehensive Cancer Center conducted the study, which is now in full Phase II.

The second study involved a Phase II trial to determine if adding epratuzumab to chemotherapy could improve the rate of second remissions in children with B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia and early bone marrow relapse. The 116 patients ages 2-30 tolerated the treatment, but their second remission rates weren't much different than chemotherapy alone. At the same time, those patients who achieved a complete remission were more likely to become minimal disease negative with epratuzumab. A Phase III multicenter study will begin in 2012, CEO Cynthia Sullivan said.

Of course, earlier and midstage research often can be promising, but larger scale testing will be key here. Immunomedics presented its latest research at the 53rd annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

A few months ago, Immunomedics suffered a setback when the FDA stopped its clinical study of the pancreatic cancer drug clivatuzumab tetraxetan, because one patient in the trial received a larger dose than prescribed. Last month, Immunomedics announced that it had resumed the clinical trial after the FDA lifted its hold.

- here's the release

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