MORRIS PLAINS, N.J., May 28, 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 its U.S. Patent 8,444,956 issued, which covers methods for labeling of peptides and other molecules, including antibodies, with fluorine-18 (F-18) and fluorine-19 (F-19), two radionuclides that can be used, respectively, for positron-emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The patented invention provides a lyophilized kit form that enables labeling to be done very rapidly, which is critical for radionuclides having a short half-life. This patent will expire in the U.S. on December 19, 2027. Cynthia L. Sullivan, President and CEO, explained: "PET with F-18 is already one of the most prevalent nuclear tracer methods used in oncology and neurology, so our scientists, as part of developing companion imaging agents for our therapeutics, strived to invent rapid and simple methods to label peptides and other proteins, including antibodies, for convenient and accurate imaging. This new patent, expanding on the 10 already issued in the U.S. covering F-18 labeling, now covers methods for producing a simple lyophilized kit that permits labeling within about 20 minutes, which is critical for F-18 that has a half-life of 110 minutes." "In addition, the patent now covers the same labeling with F-19, which can be used for MRI, another major imaging modality for depicting, in particular, musculoskeletal and neurological structures. We hope this labeling with F-18 and F-19 could enable a dual-imaging approach, whereby the strengths of PET and MRI can be combined for more accurate imaging," Ms. Sullivan added. "Further," she remarked, "this patent shows how to use this new technology for imaging of cancer, autoimmune, and infectious diseases, particularly with antibody-based targeting agents, which is an area of our strength."