Idec Pharmaceuticals Corp. said Tuesday it may have to obtaina license to a recently issued patent to market two of itsproducts in the United States.

The patent, which issued Oct. 1, covers the use of anti-idiotype antibodies for the treatment of solid tumors. WistarInstitute of Philadelphia is the assignee for the patent, No.5,053,224. Anti-ids mimic antigens by binding to the sameantibody sites, which are called idiotypes.

The Idec products potentially covered by the patent, I-Mel-1and I-Mel-2, are in Phase I/II clinical studies to treatmalignant melanoma.

Wistar has non-exclusively licensed the technology to a majorpharmaceutical company. Wistar will meet with Idec in thenext few weeks to discuss a license, said Anne Faulkner,director of business development at Wistar.

Idec, which is still in its quiet period following its initialpublic offering, said in its prospectus that it has been awareof Wistar's claims since the patent application was filed in1983. The companies have held previous discussions about alicense.

Wistar has already received a European patent on thetechnology, and Idec will have to obtain a European license ifthat patent is found to be valid, according to the prospectus.

The Wistar patent doesn't cover Idec's most advanced product,the Specifid panel of anti-ids now in Phase III trials to treatB-cell lymphoma. Nor does it cover any other Idec products, thecompany said.

Stock of La Jolla, Calif.-based Idec (NASDAQ:IDPH) closed down75 cents on Tuesday at $15.25. Last month, the company raised$45 million in its IPO of 3 million shares priced at $15. --Karen Bernstein

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