Immunomedics ends Mallinckrodt deal

February 18, 1998

Immunomedics has terminated its relationship with Mallinckrodt for the distribution of its CEA-Scan monoclonal antibody-based radiopharmaceutical, Immunomedics reported on Feb. 12. The Morris Plains, NJ, company made the move because it has been

Immunomedics has terminated its relationship with Mallinckrodt for the distribution of its CEA-Scan monoclonal antibody-based radiopharmaceutical, Immunomedics reported on Feb. 12. The Morris Plains, NJ, company made the move because it has been dissatisfied with St. Louis-based Mallinckrodt's marketing efforts for CEA-Scan, a colorectal cancer imaging agent that received Food and Drug Administration approval in 1996 (SCAN 7/17/96).

Immunomedics assigned European marketing rights for CEA-Scan to Mallinckrodt's affiliate in the region in 1995, and gave Mallinckrodt U.S. rights in 1996. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing in January, Immunomedics said that it has been dissatisfied with the performance of both companies, and might seek to unilaterally terminate the agreements.

The company did so last week, stating that it has signed on Eli Lilly to distribute CEA-Scan in Europe, and plans to announce a distributor, which it says could be a major pharmaceutical company, for the U.S. soon. Immunomedics has also been building an oncology sales and marketing force in the U.S.

In second-quarter results (end-December) released in January, Immunomedics reported a net loss of $1.6 million on revenues of $3.6 million, a figure that included revenues of $1.8 million from an arbitration award related to the settlement of the company's dispute with former marketing partner Pharmacia & Upjohn. The numbers compare with a net loss of $3.9 million on revenues of $800,000 in the second quarter of 1997.

In other Immunomedics news, the company has received a patent covering the use of small antibody fragments that bind to disease sites. The patent also includes the use of a radiation-detecting probe to detect radiotracer-tagged fragments within 24 to 48 hours of injection, which the company claims is an improvement on other probe technologies using whole antibodies. Whole antibodies persist in the body for as long as three weeks, making imaging more difficult, the firm said.