Immunomedics Inc. stock jumped 50 percent Wednesday afterthe company announced it has received notice of allowance fora broad U.S. patent covering the company's use of cytokineswith its radioactive monoclonal antibodies as a cancertreatment.

The company is conducting clinical trials of two therapies, forcolorectal cancer and lymphoma, that deliver radioactiveantibodies through the bloodstream to the cancers.Immunomedics said it hopes to show that bone marrow toxicityof cytotoxic radioantibodies would be reduced when combinedwith cytokines or growth factors, such as Il-1, Il-3 and colonystimulating factors.

The stock (NASDAQ:IMMU) gained $4.88 to $14.25. But AmyFactor, vice president for finance, said the Warren, N.J.,company is "surprised with the increase."

Factor told BioWorld, "We don't think it's (just) from theallowance of this patent." She could not predict whenImmunomedics would begin clinical trials of a cytokine-antibody combination.

"I would agree with them," said Mehta and Isaly analyst DavidSteinberg. "You're seeing culmination of investor interest inmonoclonal antibody-based imaging. Radioimmunotherapy forcancer is years away, he said.

Immunomedics is not making cytokines, Factor said, adding, "itis unclear what impact the patent will have on our businessand that of the other companies already marketing growthfactors."

Seattle-based Immunex (NASDAQ:IMNX) is approved to sellGM-CSF for use in cancer patients who have had autologousbone marrow transplants, and as stand-alone therapy toreconstitute marrow in patients whose marrow grafts havefailed. Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) of Thousand Oaks, Calif., ismarketing G-CSF for use against low white blood cell countsassociated with cancer therapy.

-- Roberta Friedman, Ph.D. Special to BioWorld

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