Immunomedics Partners With Alexis Biotech to Develop Targeted Vaccines in Cancer and AIDS
Cross-Licensing Agreement Combines Immunomedics' DNL Protein Engineering Platform Technology With Alexis Biotech's Immunotherapy
MORRIS PLAINS, N.J., July 24, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Immunomedics, Inc. (IMMU), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing monoclonal antibodies to treat cancer and other serious diseases, today announced that it has entered into a partnership and cross-licensing agreement with Alexis Biotech Ltd., London, England, to jointly develop targeted vaccines against cancers that include melanoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and infectious diseases, such as AIDS. The development will combine Immunomedics' and its majority-owned subsidiary, IBC Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s proprietary Dock-and-Lock conjugation technology (DNL) with the proprietary HLA-antibody targeting technology from Alexis Biotech. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but both companies will share in the development costs and Immunomedics will have first worldwide commercialization rights to products derived from the partnership.
"This is a product-specific license agreement that does not preclude Immunomedics from continuing to develop or to license DNL for vaccines or other applications such as multispecific monoclonal antibodies, PEG- or IgG-linked proteins, targeted siRNA or drug constructs, but does enable us to apply our DNL technology to the innovative peptide-based vaccines being developed by Alexis Biotech," commented Cynthia L. Sullivan, President and CEO of Immunomedics, Inc.
"We believe this agreement highlights the versatility of DNL, which allows the creation of completely novel biological molecules or the improvement of existing technologies, and its commercial potential," Ms. Sullivan added.
Dr. Philip Savage, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Alexis Biotech, remarked, "Combining the Alexis antibody-HLA system for cancer immunotherapy and therapeutic vaccination with the in vivo targeting capabilities of the Immunomedics' Dock-and-Lock technology offers an exciting route to move these technologies forward. The Alexis technology combines the specificity of antibody targeting with the power of the cellular immune system, and we believe DNL is the ideal system to deliver it to tumor cells and antigen-presenting cells. We look forward to a successful collaboration with Immunomedics."
About Dock-and-Lock (DNL)
DNL is a platform technology that utilizes the natural interaction between two proteins, cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) and A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs). The region that is involved in such interaction for PKA is called the dimerization and docking domain (DDD), which always appears in pairs. Its binding partner in AKAPs is the anchoring domain (AD). When mixed together, DDD and AD will bind with each other spontaneously to form a binary complex, a process termed docking. Once "docked," certain amino acid residues incorporated into DDD and AD will react with each other to "lock" them into a stably tethered structure. The outcome of the DNL method is the exclusive generation of a stable complex, in a quantitative manner that retains the full biological activities of its individual components. Diverse drugs, chemical polymers, proteins, peptides, and nucleic acids are among suitable components that can be linked to either DDD or AD. Since DDD always appears in pairs, any component that is linked to DDD will have two copies present in the final products. Two patents covering the platform technology have been issued in the United States.
Immunomedics is a New Jersey-based biopharmaceutical company primarily focused on the development of monoclonal, antibody-based products for the targeted treatment of cancer, autoimmune and other serious diseases. We have developed a number of advanced proprietary technologies that allow us to create humanized antibodies that can be used either alone in unlabeled or "naked" form, or conjugated with radioactive isotopes, chemotherapeutics or toxins, in each case to create highly targeted agents. Using these technologies, we have built a pipeline of therapeutic product candidates that utilize several different mechanisms of action. We also have a majority ownership in IBC Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which is developing a novel Dock-and-Lock (DNL) methodology with us for making fusion proteins and multifunctional antibodies, and a new method of delivering imaging and therapeutic agents selectively to disease, especially different solid cancers (colorectal, lung, pancreas, etc.), by proprietary, antibody-based, pretargeting methods. We believe that our portfolio of intellectual property, which includes approximately 137 patents issued in the United States and more than 300 other patents issued worldwide, protects our product candidates and technologies. For additional information on us, please visit our website at www.immunomedics.com. The information on our website does not, however, form a part of this press release.
About Alexis Biotech Ltd.
Alexis Biotech Ltd. is a London-based biotechnology company focusing on immunotherapy for cancer and HIV. The Alexis technology centers on the delivery of recombinant HLA/peptide complexes to either tumor cells or antigen-presenting cells that results in immune-based T-cell killing of tumor cells and the expansion of antigen-specific T cells. To-date, this technology has been extensively characterized in vitro and in pre-clinical models, with the data indicating effective killing of cancer cells in animal models and the expansion of large numbers of HIV-specific T cells ex vivo from HIV patients. The results of these studies have been presented at a number of scientific meetings and published in the scientific literature. Alexis Biotech has a number of patents supporting this technology granted in the EU, U.S., and Japan.
This release, in addition to historical information, may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements, including statements regarding clinical trials, out-licensing arrangements (including the timing and amount of contingent payments), forecasts of future operating results, and capital raising activities, involve significant risks and uncertainties and actual results could differ materially from those expressed or implied herein. Factors that could cause such differences include, but are not limited to, risks associated with new product development (including clinical trials outcome and regulatory requirements/actions), our dependence on our licensing partners for the further development of epratuzumab for autoimmune indications and veltuzumab for non-cancer indications, competitive risks to marketed products and availability of required financing and other sources of funds on acceptable terms, if at all, as well as the risks discussed in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company is not under any obligation, and the Company expressly disclaims any obligation, to update or alter any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.