ImmuLogic Pharmaceutical Corp. released results of its secondmajor Phase II Allervax Cat trial that showed significant reductionsin asthmatic symptoms in people allergic to cats.The double-blind, placebo-controlled "bronchial challenge" trialinvolved 72 cat-allergic people exposed via inhalation of catallergen. Preliminary analyses showed 71 percent of those in the750 microgram group improved, as measured by improvement inPD-20, the amount of allergen required to drop FEV-1 (forcedexpiratory volume at 1 second) by 20 percent. The medianimprovement in the group was 54 percent, as compared to less than3 percent in the placebo and escalating-dose groups.The 750 microgram dose also showed effect in an earlier Phase IIstudy, the "cat room" trial, which involved 91 patients monitored ina controlled-antigen environment before and after receiving theAllervax Cat therapeutic. Eighty-six percent of those in that trialimproved, by an average of 49 percent, in a study measured bypatients rating their own symptoms.Also, a follow-up to the cat-room trial, involving a subset ofpatients, showed 75 percent of those in the 750 microgram groupmaintained some or all benefit seven and a half months later."The results of these trials support the initial cat room trial findingsand keep us on track for initiating Allervax Cat Phase III pivotalstudies in the first quarter of 1995," said Bob Gerety, ImmuLogic'spresident and CEO.Peter Creticos, lead investigator for the trial and associate professorof medicine at Johns Hopkins University, told BioWorld thatwheezing suffered by those with allergies is only the "tip of theiceberg. The disease is actually the inflammation. The key totreating the disease process is to prevent the inflammation fromgetting started, or if it's already there, to suppress it or turn it off.You do that by directly affecting the T cells that orchestrate thisinflammatory cascade."ImmuLogic, of Waltham, Mass., held a conference call Wednesdayto explain trial results to analysts and reporters. The company'sstock (NASDAQ:IMUL) was up 50 cents on the news, closing at$9.50 per share.ImmuLogic is developing Allervax Cat, along with four otherAllervax products, in conjunction with Marion Merrell Dow Inc.,which has already paid ImmuLogic $36 million ($18 million inequity, $7 million for the license agreement and $11 million inlicensing and milestone payments).The collaboration also is developing vaccines for ragweed, which isin the clinic, Japanese cedar pollen, house-dust mites and grasses.n

-- Jim Shrine

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