Idec Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NASDAQ:IDPH) last week receiveda notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Officefor a patent covering the company's Melimmune-2 therapeuticmelanoma vaccine.

The patent, which could issue late this year, concerns anti-idiotypic antibodies to human melanoma-associatedproteoglycan antigen.

The potential vaccine is designed to stimulate the patient'simmune system to produce antibodies that specifically targetmalignant melanoma cells. The objective of using Melimmune-2is to create an immunity to the cancer immediately followingsurgery to remove primary cutaneous tumors.

Idec of La Jolla, Calif., has conducted Phase I/II clinical trials inthe U.S. with Melimmune-2 and a related vaccine Melimmune-1 in about 100 patients. The company reported that a majorityof the patients who received either form of the vaccine aftersurgery were able to produce anti-tumor antibodies. In aseparate Phase I/II study with inoperable melanoma patients,tumor regression was observed in a few individuals treatedwith Melimmune-2.

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