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Feb 1, 2008

ImmunoGen Earns Milestone with Biogen Idec’s IND Filing for Anticancer Agent

  • ImmunoGen reports that Biogen Idec submitted an IND application for a cancer drug candidate, triggering a $1.5 million milestone payment. BIIB015 comprises ImmunoGen’s cell-killing agent, DM4, linked to Biogen Idec’s Cripto-targeting antibody. Biogen Idec is developing the compound for the treatment of solid tumors that express the Cripto antigen.

    In 2004, Biogen Idec licensed the exclusive right to use ImmunoGen’s maytansinoid TAP technology with antibodies that target Cripto. Besides milestone fees, ImmunoGen is also entitled to royalties on products resulting from this agreement.
    ImmunoGen’s TAP technology is designed to enhance the anticancer activity of tumor-targeting mAbs. The firm’s cell-killing agents are attached to an antibody using a linker, which delivers the agent specifically to cancer cells.

    While ImmunoGen uses this platform to fuel its own pipeline, it also out-licenses this technology. “We expect there to be as many as eight TAP compounds in the clinic by this summer—the five already in clinical testing plus three more compounds advancing toward the clinic,” says Mitchel Sayare, chairman and CEO.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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