Idec Pharmaceuticals Corp. said Wednesday that it has receivednon-exclusive worldwide rights to patents held by The WistarInstitute for the use of monoclonal antibodies to stimulate animmune response against solid tumors.

Wistar's patents cover the use of anti-idiotypic antibodies.When administered to a patient, anti-ids present an antigenthat is indistinguishable from the tumor antigen. This inducesan immunological response to the tumor.

Idec plans to use the technology to extend the application of itsI-Mel-1 and I-Mel-2 products, which use monoclonalantibodies to stimulate an immune response against malignantmelanoma, to the treatment of other solid tumors, said CliffordOrent, chief operating officer.

I-Mel-1 and I-Mel-2, which are expected to be used in patientswho are at risk of relapse following cancer surgery, are inPhase II/III trials.

Earlier this month, Idec said it has accelerated the developmentof its pan-B antibody-based cancer treatment, with a goal ofentering human trials in 1992.

The pan-B antibodies will complement Idec's SPECIFID panel ofanti-lymphoma radioantibodies, which are now in Phase IIItests. For less aggressive lymphomas, "the SPECIFID panel isvery selective, it targets malignant cells and is non-toxic, "Orent told BioWorld.

Pan-B antibodies will recognize B cells and provide a moreaggressive therapy, but are less specific for individual cancercells. "It's not as specific, but it will be relatively safe, webelieve," Orent said.

SPECIFID evolved from yttrium-conjugated, anti-idiotypeantibodies that were customized to patients' cancers. Yttrium-conjugated antibodies will deliver radiation more directly tothe tumor, compared with external beam radiation.

To meet its clinical trial target, the La Jolla, Calif., company willexpand its collaboration with Hybritech Inc. to include the pan-B antibodies in the yttrium conjugation technique.

Hybritech, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Co., has been attachingthe radionucleotide to anti-B cell antibodies, said Orent. "By theend of 1992 we will phase out the collaboration" and bring thetechnology in-house, he said.

Idec has retained full rights to the radioconjugated antibodies.The financial terms of the collaboration have not beendisclosed.

Idec stock (NASDAQ:IDPH) closed up $1.75 Wednesday at $14.

-- Kris Herbst BioWorld Washington Bureau

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