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IMMUNOGEN: The TAP Technology

Guillermo Herrera - Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Something to think about the fact that using ImmunoGen’s (IMGN) TAP technology makes targeted cancer drugs beat their own efficacy. This reality seems to be increasingly considered by cancer drug developers. Using ImmunoGen’s technology enables approved, or investigational targeted cancer drugs developed by pharmaceutical companies to gain extra-efficacy as first line treatments, in addition to overcoming cancer resistance in case of recurrences. The oncology drug developers would love to see their same products bring better safety and efficacy, cover more patients and succeed if recurrences occur.

Yesterday, after the end of the market session, ImmunoGen announced it has earned a $2 million milestone payment after Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, submitted an investigational new drug (IND) application for its cancer drug BAY 94-9343 in development using Immunogen’s technology. The drug is a promising therapeutic for mesothelin-expressing cancers. Daniel Junius, ImmunoGen President and CEO said, "In addition to BAY 94-9343, we expect five other TAP compounds to advance into clinical testing in the next twelve months - two developed and wholly owned by ImmunoGen and three through our collaborations with other companies. Overall, we anticipate that there will be twelve TAP compounds in the clinic by this time next year."

Mesothelin is highly expressed on mesotheliomas and on many ovarian and pancreatic carcinomas. BAY 94-9343 consists of a Bayer HealthCare antibody that targets mesothelin with ImmunoGen's DM4 cancer-cell killing agent attached, using one of ImmunoGen’s engineered linkers. In preclinical testing, BAY 94-9343 demonstrated potent, targeted anticancer activity against mesothelin-expressing tumors.

ImmunoGen has granted Bayer HealthCare exclusive rights to use ImmunoGen's maytansinoid TAP technology to develop anticancer treatments that target mesothelin. ImmunoGen is entitled to receive milestone payments potentially totaling up to $170.5 million for each resulting product, plus royalties on sales.

This is not all. More agreements are expected to be signed with other firms following the validation of ImmunoGen’s technological capability. The validation emanated from previously announced results, especially, with T-DM1, with Roche’s drug Herceptin incorporated into the TAP drug for HER2 breast cancer. The technology is being validated in preclinical experimentation as with Bayers’ drug BAY 94-9343 and five other TAP compounds that are advancing into clinical testing.

These new products add to ImmunoGen’s pipeline products that are already in mid- and late- clinical trials. Two of the newly comer drugs will be added to the products that are wholly owned by ImmunoGen.

We are long IMGN.

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