Study Published in Cancer Research First to Show Anti-Cancer Activity
In Animals Using Antibodies Aimed at EphA2
GAITHERSBURG, Md., Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- MedImmune, Inc.
(Nasdaq: MEDI) scientists today published in the November 15 issue of Cancer
Research that preclinical studies in animals demonstrated proof of principle
for using antibodies targeting the protein EphA2 as a potential treatment for
EphA2 is a protein overexpressed by many different types of human cancers,
including melanoma (skin cancer), breast cancer and prostate cancer. The
highest levels of EphA2 have been found on the most aggressive cancer cells,
which is consistent with evidence linking EphA2 with clinical features of
metastasis (cancer's spread). Early research indicates that EphA2 functions
differently on malignant cells than it does on normal cells. On malignant
cells, EphA2 appears to promote tumor growth, survival and invasiveness.
"Using anti-EphA2 antibodies, we may be able to selectively destroy tumor
cells while minimizing the damage to normal cells," said Peter Kiener,
D.Phil., vice president, research at MedImmune. "These therapeutic antibodies
could provide a much-needed option for treating many forms of cancer that are
otherwise resistant to conventional therapies."
Data from the Cancer Research study, entitled "Differential EphA2 Epitope
Display on Normal versus Malignant Cells," showed that certain antibody-
binding sites on EphA2 are selectively available on cancerous cells, but are
not accessible on normal cells. The study also showed that delivering anti-
EphA2 antibodies at a level of 6 mg/kg dose results in substantial decreases
in tumor growth in vivo (in mice models). Should additional preclinical
studies continue to exhibit comparable results, MedImmune anticipates filing
an Investigational New Drug application (IND) with the U.S. Food & Drug
Administration (FDA) in early 2005 to begin testing in people.
Expanding the MedImmune Oncology Pipeline
MedImmune in-licensed the worldwide rights to EphA2 technology from Purdue
Research Foundation in October 2001. Since then, MedImmune has continued to
build a body of scientific evidence demonstrating the role of EphA2 in
uncontrolled tumor growth and metastasis, as well as the potential for anti-
EphA2 antibodies to specifically treat certain cancers.
Since February 1999, when MedImmune acquired Vitaxin(R), its first cancer-
related product candidate, MedImmune has been selectively building its
oncology organization and pipeline. The company's goal is to become a world
leader in the development and marketing of cancer-related therapies.
Currently, MedImmune has a 70-person oncology sales and marketing organization
detailing Ethyol(R) (amifostine) to oncologists throughout the United States.
MedImmune's research and development organization is advancing and expanding
the focus of a number of internal product candidates through melanoma and
prostate cancer studies with Vitaxin, non-small cell lung cancer and acute
myelogenous leukemia (AML) studies with Ethyol, and T cell lymphoma studies
with siplizumab. In addition, since October 2001, MedImmune's internal
discovery and in-licensing activities have successfully expanded the company's
preclinical pipeline with six new oncology-related technologies or targets.
About MedImmune, Inc.
MedImmune is a leading biotechnology company focused on researching,
developing and commercializing products to prevent or treat infectious
disease, autoimmune disease and cancer. MedImmune actively markets four
products, Synagis(R) (palivizumab), FluMist(TM) (Influenza
Virus Vaccine Live, Intranasal), Ethyol(R) (amifostine) and CytoGam(R)
(cytomegalovirus immune globulin intravenous (human)), and has additional
products in clinical testing. MedImmune employs approximately 1,700 people,
is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and has additional operations in
Frederick, Maryland, as well as Pennsylvania, California, the United Kingdom
and the Netherlands. For more information on the company and its products,
visit MedImmune's website at www.medimmune.com.
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 MedImmune'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.
SOURCE MedImmune, Inc.
CONTACT: Media: Jamie Lacey, +1-240-632-4035, or for Investors: Will
Roberts, +1-301-527-4358, or John Filler, +1-240-632-4086, all of MedImmune,
/Web site: http://www.medimmune.com/