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12:00 AM
 | 
May 15, 2006
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

Surviving cancer

Two years have passed since Amgen Inc. returned all rights to epratuzumab (IMMU-103) to Immunomedics Inc. after the monoclonal antibody failed in a Phase II trial in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In the interim, IMMU believes it has found the right indications - in autoimmune disease. UCB Group agrees, and last week took an exclusive worldwide license to develop, market and sell epratuzumab for autoimmune indications.

IMMU will receive $38 million in cash up front and is eligible for up to $145 million in cash milestones, $20 million in equity milestones, and royalties. The company also could receive bonuses upon reaching certain sales target levels. UCB (Euronext:UCB, Brussels, Belgium) will assume all current and future development and commercialization costs.

Earlier this month, IMMU (Morris Plains, N.J.) reported results of an open-label, European Phase II study in severe systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) flares. The endpoint was reduction in British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) scores, which IMMU said showed early evidence of activity at both six and 18 weeks.

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