LEXINGTON, Mass., Jan. 6, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Antigenics Inc. (Nasdaq:AGEN) today announced that effective immediately it is changing its name to Agenus Inc. The company's stock will continue to be traded on NASDAQ under the symbol AGEN. The new name reflects the broadening of the company's product portfolio of clinical candidates beyond autologous antigen-based vaccines, as well as its commitment to actively pursuing licensing opportunities to leverage its development capabilities and expand its product portfolio.

"I am extremely proud of the pioneering work we have done in the field of antigen-based personalized cancer vaccines over the past 16 years. Our commitment to this technology continues to be an integral part of our company," said Garo H. Armen, PhD, chairman and CEO of Agenus. "However, our pipeline and capabilities have significantly expanded since 1994, and we believe our original name no longer captures the current state of the company. Our new corporate identity also gives us the opportunity to emphasize our commitment to collaborations and strategic partnerships."

Simultaneous with the name change, Agenus updated the names of some of the products in its development pipeline to emphasize the broader promise of its portfolio as well as recent clinical developments. 

"Our Prophage Series of cancer vaccines reflects the extraordinarily broad applicability of our heat shock protein technology to different types of cancers," said Armen.

The Prophage Series G vaccines for glioma (brain cancer), specifically Prophage G-100 and Prophage G-200, are currently being tested in newly diagnosed and recurrent glioma, respectively. Based on encouraging survival and immunology data from these trials, Agenus recently expanded its Phase 2 clinical trial in newly diagnosed patients.

The Oncophage® vaccine name will be retained in the adjuvant renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) indication.

HerpV is the new name for Agenus' investigational herpes vaccine, formerly referred to as AG-707. HerpV has been shown in Phase 1 clinical trials to induce both CD-4 and CD-8 T cells, which together are thought to be critical in controlling the genital herpes virus.