BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS - The French cell therapy company Immuno-Designed Molecules SA acquired intellectual property rights and other assets from Jenner Biotherapies in exchange for an undisclosed amount of IDM stock.

Among the assets it purchased from the Wisconsin-based company, which was established in 1993 and ceased operating in May 2002, are the exclusive rights Jenner acquired from Eli Lilly and Co. to the KSA recombinant antigen, better known as EP-CAM, which is expressed in a number of cancers.

According to Paris-based IDM, an anti-KSA therapeutic vaccine could prove active against a wide ranger of cancers, although the company plans to develop it initially for prostate cancer. IDM will use KSA to produce a new cell therapy based on its proprietary dendritic cells, called Dendritophages. Among the other assets it acquired from Jenner are antigens in the form of liposomes, as well as rights to the use of the PSA antigen for the treatment of prostate cancer.

In addition, IDM has obtained the rights to immunopotentiators (immune system stimulants), which the U.S. company obtained from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG, of Basel. One of those, MEPACT, was being developed by Jenner for the treatment of osteosarcoma, a serious cancer affecting children. IDM is planning to continue the development of that product, which was recently granted orphan drug status by the FDA, saying it plans to "identify the therapeutic options for this unmet medical need."

CEO Jean-Loup Romet-Lemonne said he was particularly pleased that the company had been able to acquire those technologies, products and licenses in exchange for shares, enabling it to "conserve its financial reserves."

IDM's communications manager, Nadine Sciacca, told BioWorld International that it had sufficient funding for two and a half years and that it hoped market conditions would permit its next financing to take the form of an IPO. "We have been ready for two years already," she said.