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Immunomedics lands new partner for distribution of CEA-Scan MoAb


Company also reports progress with new agentsImmunomedics has signed on Bergen Brunswig to take over distribution responsibilities for its CEA-Scan monoclonal antibody-based colorectal cancer imaging agent. Bergen Brunswig will assume duties once

Company also reports progress with new agents

Immunomedics has signed on Bergen Brunswig to take over distribution responsibilities for its CEA-Scan monoclonal antibody-based colorectal cancer imaging agent. Bergen Brunswig will assume duties once held by Mallinckrodt, with which Immunomedics is ending its relationship.

Immunomedics of Morris Plains, NJ, announced in February that it is terminating its relationship with Mallinckrodt, which had been marketing CEA-Scan since the product was approved in 1996. Immunomedics said it was dissatisfied with Mallinckrodt's efforts in support of the product, but otherwise the company has declined to comment on the sales performance of CEA-Scan (SCAN 3/4/98). The marketing agreement between the companies will expire April 5, and Mallinckrodt has agreed to end the relationship, according to Dr. David Goldenberg, Immunomedics chairman and CEO.

Bergen Brunwsig is one of the largest pharmaceutical distributors in the country, selling pharmaceuticals on a wholesale basis to hospitals and pharmacies, Goldenberg said. The company does not develop its own products. While Bergen Brunswig's Bergen Brunswig Specialty Company subsidiary handles distribution of CEA-Scan, Immunomedics will market the agent through a direct sales force it has been building. Bergen Brunswig also has a direct sales force, but the companies have not yet decided whether it will handle CEA-Scan, Goldenberg said.

In addition to announcing the Bergen Brunswig deal, Immunomedics last month provided attendees at a conference of the New York Society of Security Analysts with a status report on several new technologies in its R&D pipeline. A version of CEA-Scan for breast cancer imaging has completed phase II clinical trials, and Immunomedics is in discussions with authorities in the U.S. and Europe about requirements for a regulatory submission for the new application.

Immunomedics hopes that it already has enough clinical data to support the use of the product in patients with suspicious mammograms but no palpable lesions. The company will probably need to conduct additional clinical trials for another application, differentiating between malignant and benign lesions, Goldenberg said.

Another CEA-Scan-related product is CEA-Cide, which uses a humanized monoclonal antibody with a therapeutic rather than diagnostic radioisotope attached. CEA-Cide could be used for a number of different cancers, such as breast, lung, and colorectal, and is in phase I trials.

Finally, Immunomedics reported on work it is conducting to develop an agent that could help treat atherosclerosis. Immunomedics researchers have developed an antibody that binds to monocytes, white blood cells that stick to fatty deposits on the walls of arteries and trap lipids circulating in the bloodstream. These monocyte-lipid deposits, also known as atherosclerotic plaque, narrow cardiac arteries.

The technology under development at Immunomedics could be used to carry payloads of drugs or dyes to sites of atherosclerotic plaque, thus helping surgeons clear clogged arteries. Immunomedics has dubbed the technology "immunoangioplasty," and is examining it in preclinical studies. The company received a patent on the technology in February, and hopes to continue development work in collaboration with an invasive cardiology company capable of activating antibody-transported payloads with lasers.

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