Immunex Corp. shares jumped $5.38 to $62 after the companyannounced Thursday that it has formed an internationalproduct exchange with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. to develop andmarket cancer therapeutics.

The company's shares (NASDAQ:IMNX) rose $5.13 onWednesday in anticipation of the agreement.

Bristol-Myers will receive rights to register and marketImmunex's PIXY321 blood cell growth factor outside of theUnited States and Canada. Immunex will retain worldwidemanufacturing rights and will supply all of Bristol-Myers'clinical trial and commercial product requirements. Seattle-based Immunex will receive a margin on Bristol-Myers' sales.The companies will coordinate clinical trial and marketingstrategies for the drug.

Immunex will receive U.S. marketing rights from Bristol-Myersto nine FDA-approved oncology products, including exclusiverights to Hydrea hydroxyurea and Rubex doxorubicinhydrochloride, said Michael Kranda, Immunex president andchief operating officer. Immunex will have co-promotion rightsto five other drugs through no later than Jan. 1, 1994, afterwhich it will have exclusive rights. In addition, the company isreceiving rights to three generic products that Bristol-Myershas never marketed. Two have received FDA approval.

PIXY321 combines in a single molecule analogs of twocytokines, granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factorand interleukin-3. The drug is in Phase I trials to restoreplatelets and white blood cells in patients with sarcoma,gastrointestinal cancers and refractory solid tumors. Thecompany hopes to begin Phase II trials by the end of the year.

"Our primary goal is expeditious global development ofPIXY321," Kranda told BioWorld. "The other fundamentalelement from our point of view was to add additional oncologyproducts to our portfolio. Leukine GM-CSF is doing well, butwe've wanted for the last year to find an immediate product tobring in."

The agreement won't change Immunex's earnings this year,said Kranda, who put total potential revenues to Immunex overthe next five years at $150 million. In addition, Immunex willsave on the costs of developing PIXY321 outside NorthAmerica, said Kranda.

Immunex doesn't anticipate adding to its force of 56 U.S. salesrepresentatives and managers. The company anticipatesminimal costs for marketing materials and training expensesfor the two exclusive products.

The company is to report on Feb. 6 a small profit for 1991, itsfirst profitable year. Immunex expects to be profitable thisyear as well. The company plans to raise R&D spending to $45million in 1992 from $30 million in 1991.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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