Gaithersburg, MD and Palo Alto, CA, February 22, 2001 -- MedImmune, Inc. (Nasdaq: MEDI) and Targesome, Inc., a private biotechnology company, today announced the signing of a research and development agreement whereby the two companies will evaluate the potential of combining MedImmune's anti-angiogenesis product, VitaxinTM, with Targesome's proprietary nanoparticle technology. The combination could generate a targeted nanoparticle capable of delivering a payload of a therapeutic or imaging agent for the treatment and/or diagnosis of cancer. As part of the agreement, MedImmune receives an option to license the Targesome technology for the development of multiple therapeutic products with Vitaxin, while Targesome receives an option to license Vitaxin for use in imaging products.
“Just as we planned for the creation of a long-term anti-RSV franchise with the development of RespiGam®, Synagis® and NumaxTM, we are also putting in place plans for the development of long-term successors for other products currently in the clinic,” said James F. Young, Ph.D., MedImmune's president, research and development. “This relationship with Targesome is one such opportunity for the future expansion of Vitaxin. We believe the combination of Vitaxin with Targesome's technology has exciting possibilities and we look forward to gaining further insight into the science as Targesome plans to conduct an initial Phase I study later this year.”
Vitaxin is a humanized antibody that is now in Phase I clinical studies to prevent angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels) by binding to alpha-v beta-3, an integrin expressed on newly formed blood vessels induced by growth factors secreted by tumors. The naked antibody is expected to specifically cause the death of the endothelial cells lining these vessels, cutting off the blood supply to the tumor. Targesome has developed nanoparticles that can carry therapeutic and diagnostic agents. Vitaxin can be attached to the nanoparticles along with a cytotoxic or radioactive agent that can then be targeted to the vascular receptor, alpha-v beta-3 integrin. The theoretical advantage of combining Vitaxin with Targesome's technology is the creation of a new therapeutic entity that can target the specific site on the endothelial cells expressing alpha-v beta-3, and deliver a cytotoxic agent that will directly kill the new blood vessels and adjacent tumor cells.
As a part of the agreement, MedImmune has made an equity investment of $1.5 million in Targesome and agreed to make milestone payments and pay future royalties on therapeutic products in cancer and other disease areas resulting from this relationship. Targesome is responsible for Phase I development of the cancer product and MedImmune is responsible for subsequent clinical development, manufacturing and marketing. In addition, Targesome is responsible for all activities related to using the combined technology to develop cancer-focused imaging agents, from which MedImmune will receive milestone payments and potential future royalties.
"Targesome is looking forward to this collaboration with MedImmune," said Rod Young, president and chief executive officer of Targesome. "We believe their vascular-targeted antibody, Vitaxin, is an extremely attractive targeting agent for radiotherapy."
MedImmune, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on developing and marketing products that address medical needs in areas such as infectious disease, immune regulation and cancer. Headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, MedImmune has manufacturing facilities in Frederick, Maryland and Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Targesome, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of proprietary receptor-targeted nanoparticles to diagnose and treat cancer and other diseases. The Company's particles enable detection of such diseases at the microscopic stage through molecular imaging technology and provide vehicles for effective delivery of therapeutic agents. Targesome, Inc. is located in Palo Alto, California.
This announcement may contain, in addition to historical information, certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Such statements reflect management's current views and are based on certain assumptions. Actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated as a result of a number of factors, including risks and uncertainties discussed in the company's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company is developing several products for potential future marketing. There can be no assurance that such development efforts will succeed, that such products will receive required regulatory clearance or that, even if such regulatory clearance were received, such products would ultimately achieve commercial success.