The first efficacy studies of ImmuLogic Pharmaceutical Corp.'sragweed therapeutic showed a statistically significant improvement inallergy symptoms among those in a particular dosing group.

Allervax Ragweed was tested in double-blind, placebo-controlledstudies involving 960 patients. Those given the largest dose (750micrograms) four times had a mean improvement in ragweedsymptoms of 11 percent vs. placebo over the course of the August toOctober season.

Other drug groups _ 75 micrograms and 750 micrograms giventwice _ showed positive trends but did not achieve statisticalsignificance compared to the placebo group, Susan Primrose,ImmuLogic's director of investor relations and corporatecommunications, said Thursday.

The company's stock (NASDAQ:IMUL) gained 11 percent, or $2,Thursday to close at $19.75. It lost 75 cents Friday. Primrose said thegoal will be to evaluate the data and confer with the FDA in order tohave a study in place for the 1996 ragweed season.

In a report issued Thursday, UBS Securities Inc. analyst Tim Wilsonreiterated his buy recommendation on the company and said aproduct license application could be filed in the first quarter of 1997."This new data, combined with the size of the ragweed market [25million sufferers in the U.S.] and a worldwide 50/50 partner in theform of Hoechst Marion Roussel, makes ImmuLogic one of ourfavorite stocks for the year ahead," Wilson wrote. He put a 12-monthprice target of $31.

Hoechst Marion Roussel, the Frankfurt, Germany-basedpharmaceutical division of Hoechst AG, also is collaborating onother Allervax products. The lead one, Allervax Cat, is in a pivotalstudy. All 270 patients have been dosed. Data should be released inthe second quarter and a product license application filing couldcome by the end of the year, Wilson said.

Patients in the ragweed study recorded their symptoms over theseason, scoring 10 allergic symptoms on a 0-to-5 scale. Nasal,rhinoconjunctival and total allergy symptoms were evaluated. Amongthe symptoms were runny nose, itchy throat, stuffiness, sneezing,wheezing and cough.

Primrose said there were no serious adverse events in the Allervaxgroup, but there were increased "minor symptoms that are allergic-like in nature." They occurred early after administration and thenwent away, she said.

ImmuLogic, of Waltham, Mass., has received about $25 million inlicense and milestone payments from Hoechst, Primrose said. Thecompanies are sharing development costs and profits in the U.S.Outside the U.S. ImmuLogic will get 45 percent of profits. n

-- Jim Shrine

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