-- 88.2% Overall Response Rate, Including 42.4% Complete Responses --
-- 60% of Patients Remain in Remission at 3 Years Follow-Up --
MORRIS PLAINS, N.J., Aug. 14, 2013 (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 the combination of epratuzumab and rituximab, as a front-line therapy of patients with newly diagnosed follicular lymphoma (FL), produced a high complete response rate and prolonged time to disease progression. Final results from the Phase II CALGB 50701 study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute Study Group, Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), was published online in the journal Cancer. 1The study reported an overall response rate (ORR) of 88.2% in 59 evaluable patients who had completed all courses of treatment. Of these, 25 patients (42.4%) achieved a complete response, 27 patients (45.8%) reported a partial response, and 6 patients (10.2%) had stable disease as their best response. The estimated median progression-free survival is 3.5 years. At 3 years, 60% of patients remain in remission. Epratuzumab is the Company's proprietary humanized anti-CD22 antibody with strong efficacy as a monotherapy in relapsed FL. 2 Although rituximab combined with chemotherapy has improved the survival of previously untreated patients with FL, many patients are unable or unwilling to tolerate chemotherapy. This has led the CALGB to evaluate the combination of epratuzumab and rituximab as initial treatment of patients with FL, with ORR within 12 months of study enrollment as the primary objective of the multi-institution study. Sixty patients were enrolled by 17 CALGB institutions to receive epratuzumab 360 mg/m 2 with rituximab 375 mg/m 2 weekly for 4 induction doses. This combination was continued as extended induction in weeks 12, 20, 28, and 36 for a total of 8 doses over 9 months. Therapy was well-tolerated, with toxicities similar to those expected with rituximab alone. One patient completed all courses of treatment but was not evaluable for response because of death due to bacterial infection before the time of response assessment. Response was assessed by computed tomography imaging.