Neoprobe Corp. announced Wednesday that it has agreed tolicense a breast cancer targeting monoclonal antibody (MAb)from the Institut Armand-Frappier at the University of Quebec.The radiolabeled MAb, called BCD-F9, accurately identified theexistence of tumor in 93 percent of patients through externalcamera scanning during preoperative staging.

Under the terms of the agreement Neoprobe has the exclusiveright to evaluate the MAb for a year, after which the companycan choose to negotiate terms for an exclusive marketinglicense.

Neoprobe of Columbus, Ohio, intends to use the MAb inconjunction with its radioimmunoguided surgery (RIGS)technology, which combines the use of radiolabeled MAbs orpeptides with a hand-held gamma ray detector designed tofind otherwise hidden cancers during surgery. The RIGSproducts are intended to identify the location and extent oftumors for diagnosis and excision.

In February 1993, Neoprobe began Phase II trials of anotherRIGS product for breast cancer detection that uses a differentMAb. The CC-49 MAb, Neoprobe spokeswoman Judy Barnestold BioWorld, is intended to be more general in its applicationto breast cancer. The new BCD-F9 MAb specifically detectsbreast cancer tumors in lymph nodes, but the company ishoping it will do so with a high degree of specificity, Barnesexplained.

A third RIGS product for breast cancer will use a peptidereceptor-based targeting agent, licensed from Biomeasure Inc.last June. The company is currently in pre-investigational newdrug (IND) meetings with FDA concerning that product.

Furthest along in Neoprobe's RIGS product line are twoproducts being developed to detect and characterize primaryand metastatic colorectal cancer, respectively. Both are in PhaseIII trials. A RIGS product using the CC-49 MAb for ovariancancer is in Phase II development.

The RIGS line also includes two therapeutic products. RIGSadoptive cellular therapies include a product for metastaticcolorectal cancer (in Phase I/II clinicals) and one for pancreaticcancer, currently in a 10-patient pilot study. These productslocate helper lymphocytes in lymph nodes, which are thenremoved, proliferated in culture, and reintroduced to thepatient. The helper lymphocytes are intended to control otherimmune lymphocytes, Barnes said.

-- Karl A. Thiel Business Editor

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