12:00 AM
Jul 28, 2003
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

igeneon: The self-help approach

Many companies developing cancer therapies deal primarily with the remission of solid tumors. Austrian cancer play igeneon AG instead focuses on disseminated tumor cells that survive standard therapies and, often several years later, lead to metastases. While its products are designed as complementary to conventional treatments, the company believes mobilizing the body's defenses is the most innovative and promising approach in fighting metastasis, because once mobilized, the immune system should provide long-lasting protection against tumor dissemination.

igeneon was started in 1999 by former managers of R&D at Novartis AG (SWX:NOVN; NVS, Basel, Switzerland). The company was formed around therapeutic cancer vaccine IGN101, which Helmut Eckert, one of the founders, developed independently of the pharma company. IGN101 targets the Ep-CAM epithelial cell antigen, a cell surface glycoprotein that mediates cell adhesion and cell growth signals and is overexpressed in the majority of epithelial cancers. The vaccine is in several Phase II...

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