ImClone Systems Inc., which next week will present data on itstherapeutic cancer vaccine at the American Society for ClinicalOncology (ASCO) meeting, agreed Thursday to an $11.7 millionextension of a collaboration on the product.

ImClone, of New York, has been collaborating since 1990 on theanti-idiotypic vaccine BEC-2 with Merck KGaA, of Darmstadt,Germany. ImClone officials, while not disclosing exact terms, saidthey already have received several million dollars from their vaccinepartner.

The modified deal calls for ImClone to receive up to $11.7 million inlicense fees, quarterly payments and milestones. It also givesImClone worldwide marketing rights.

In return Merck, which already had rights in Europe, Australia andNew Zealand, received marketing rights for all indicationseverywhere except North America. Merck will pay 60 percent ofdevelopment costs in the U.S. and Europe and all development costselsewhere. ImClone, which retains rights in North America, will getroyalties on sales everywhere else.

The product mimics the GD3 glycolipid expressed on certain tumors.ImClone has been studying it, primarily in combination withadjuvants, to enhance immune responses in patients with small celllung carcinoma and malignant melanoma. The product is designed toprevent tumors from growing in patients who first were treated withchemotherapy or surgery.

Samuel Waksal, president and CEO at ImClone, said "compelling"survival data has been seen in melanoma patients. On Monday atASCO three-and-a-half-year survival data from a pilot study in smallcell lung cancer data will be presented. Those results, he said,"peaked the interest of Merck even further."

The expanded agreement is valuable in that money coming in willhelp offset the clinical program costs and the company's burn rate,Waksal said. Additionally, data presented at ASCO "hopefully willmake people realize we have more than one thoroughbred running inthe race toward product development."

On Tuesday ImClone is going to present at ASCO data from C225,an epidermal growth factor receptor antagonist that's being studiedfor several cancers in multiple Phase Ia/IIb trials.

Waksal said ImClone expects to receive the majority of the $11.7million from Merck in the next two years. The company on March31, 1996, reported having $20.6 million in cash and 19.6 millionshares outstanding. It's been spending about $1 million per month. n

-- Jim Shrine

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.