MORRIS PLAINS, N.J., March 9, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Immunomedics , Inc. (Nasdaq:IMMU), a biopharmaceutical company primarily focused on the development of monoclonal antibody-based products for the targeted treatment of cancer, autoimmune and other serious diseases, today announced that IBC Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IBC), a majority-owned subsidiary, has received notice that its patent application for "Modular Method to Prepare Tetrameric Cytokines with Improved Pharmacokinetics by the Dock-and-Lock (DNL) Technology" will issue as U.S. Patent No. 7,906,118 on March 15, 2011.
The 7,906,118 patent covers cytokine-antibody complexes made by the DNL technology. Cytokines are regulatory proteins, such as interleukins and lymphokines, released by cells of the immune system. The issued claims cover DNL complexes containing any cytokine attached to any antibody or antibody fragment. Initial studies with DNL complexes containing four copies of a cytokine per antibody molecule show that the cytokine-antibody DNL complex exhibits greater in vivo efficacy against cancer cells than either cytokine or antibody alone, the unconjugated combination of cytokine and antibody, or a PEGylated form of the cytokine, and has a longer serum half-life than the PEGylated cytokine.
Furthermore, additional claims for the patent family "Methods and Compositions for Generating Bioactive Assemblies of Increased Complexity and Uses," will issue as U.S. Patent No. 7,906,121, also on March 15, 2011. These new patents add to the Company's extensive portfolio of existing DNL patents and further strengthen the patent protection of its proprietary DNL technology. Both patents will expire in March, 2026.Commenting on the new patent awards, Cynthia L. Sullivan, President and CEO of Immunomedics, said, "We are pleased to receive these new important patents, which cover a new class of agents, such as "20-2b", a DNL construct comprised of 4 interferon-a2b molecules conjugated to veltuzumab, our humanized anti-CD20 antibody in clinical trials. We are currently evaluating this construct as a potential new therapy for patients with CD20-expressing lymphomas, funded by a new grant from the National Cancer Institute's Small Business Innovation Research program."