Immunomedics Announces Orphan Drug Designation for Veltuzumab for the Treatment of Immune Thrombocytopenia

MORRIS PLAINS, N.J., Aug. 4, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Immunomedics, Inc. (Nasdaq:IMMU) today announced that the Office of Orphan Products Development of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan status for the use of veltuzumab, the Company's humanized anti-CD20 antibody, for the treatment of immune thrombocytopenia (ITP).

In a Phase 1 study,1 low-dose veltuzumab, as a single agent, produced an objective response rate of 55% in 38 response-assessable patients with relapsed ITP, including 11 patients (29%) who reported a complete response. Furthermore, 10 responders achieved durable responses for more than 1 year, including 3 patients in remission for up to 4.3 years after veltuzumab treatment. The Phase 2 expansion trial has completed patient accrual and patients are being followed for up to 5 years.

"We are pleased to receive the Orphan Drug designation for veltuzumab in ITP from the FDA," commented Cynthia L. Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are currently evaluating various options for further clinical development of veltuzumab in ITP and other autoimmune disease indications, including licensing arrangements and collaborations with outside study groups," Ms. Sullivan added.

ITP is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the platelets (or thrombocytes) resulting in their accelerated destruction. It is a bleeding disorder characterized by low blood platelet counts of less than 50,000/µL. The incidence of adult ITP is approximately 10-125 cases per 1,000,000 per year, and predominantly affects females with onset between 18 to 40 years of age. Treatment is usually required for platelet levels below 30,000/µL because of high risk of bleeding. Conventional initial therapy is corticosteroids with or without intravenous immunoglobulins, but many patients relapse when steroids are tapered. Standard treatment in this situation has been splenectomy, which results in durable complete remission in 60-70% of cases. For patients who do not respond to corticosteroids, immunoglobulins, or splenectomy, FDA has recently approved two new agents that mimic thrombopoietin, the major platelet growth factor that stimulates the production of platelets by the bone marrow.

Orphan drug status is granted by FDA to a drug or biological product to treat a rare disease or condition upon request of a sponsor. Orphan drug designation qualifies the Company for various development incentives, including tax credits for qualified clinical testing, a waiver from FDA's application User Fee for marketing application, and a seven-year period of marketing exclusivity in the United States for veltuzumab, if it is approved by FDA for the treatment of patients with ITP.

The granting of an orphan designation request does not alter the standard regulatory requirements and process for obtaining marketing approval. Safety and effectiveness of a drug must be established through adequate and well-controlled studies.


1. Liebman H.A., Saleh M.N., Bussel J.B., Negrea O.G., Horne H., Wegener W.A. and Goldenberg D.M. Low-dose anti-CD20 veltuzumab given intravenously or subcutaneously is active in relapsed immune thrombocytopenia: a phase I study. Br J Haematol. 162(5):693-701, 2013.

About Immunomedics

Immunomedics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing monoclonal antibody-based products for the targeted treatment of cancer, autoimmune disorders and other serious diseases. Immunomedics' advanced proprietary technologies allow the Company to create humanized antibodies that can be used either alone in unlabeled or "naked" form, or conjugated with radioactive isotopes, chemotherapeutics, cytokines or toxins. Using these technologies, Immunomedics has built a pipeline of nine clinical-stage product candidates. Immunomedics' most advanced candidate is 90Y-clivatuzumab tetraxetan. The radiolabeled antibody is in a Phase 3 registration trial in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Immunomedics expects patient enrollment to be completed in calendar year 2016. Immunomedics' portfolio of investigational products also includes antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) that are designed to deliver a specific payload of a chemotherapeutic directly to the tumor while reducing overall toxic effects that are usually found with conventional administration of these chemotherapeutic agents. Immunomedics' most advanced ADCs are sacituzumab govitecan (IMMU-132) and labetuzumab govitecan (IMMU-130), which are in Phase 2 trials for a number of solid tumors and metastatic colorectal cancer, respectively. Immunomedics has licensed epratuzumab to UCB, S.A., (UCB) for the treatment of all autoimmune disease indications worldwide. In July 2015, UCB announced that the two Phase 3 EMBODY™ clinical trials for epratuzumab in systemic lupus erythematosus did not meet the primary clinical efficacy endpoints in either dose in both studies. Immunomedics is exploring epratuzumab in oncology in collaboration with independent cancer study groups. The IntreALL Inter-European study group is conducting a large, randomized Phase 3 trial combining epratuzumab with chemotherapy in children with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia at clinical sites in Australia, Europe, and Israel. Immunomedics also has a number of other product candidates that target solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, as well as other diseases, in various stages of clinical and pre-clinical development. These include bispecific antibodies targeting cancers and infectious diseases as T-cell redirecting immunotherapies, as well as bispecific antibodies for next-generation cancer and autoimmune disease therapies, created using its patented DOCK-AND-LOCK® protein conjugation technology. The Company believes that its portfolio of intellectual property, which includes approximately 267 active patents in the United States and more than 400 foreign patents, protects its product candidates and technologies. For additional information on the Company, please visit its website at The information on its website does not, however, form a part of this press release.

This release, in addition to historical information, may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements, including statements regarding clinical trials (including the funding therefor, outcomes, timing or associated costs), out-licensing arrangements (including the timing and amount of contingent payments), forecasts of future operating results, potential collaborations, and capital raising activities, involve significant risks and uncertainties and actual results could differ materially from those expressed or implied herein. Factors that could cause such differences include, but are not limited to, new product development (including clinical trials outcome and regulatory requirements/actions), our dependence on UCB for the further development of epratuzumab for non-cancer indications, risks associated with the outcome of pending litigation and competitive risks to marketed products, and availability of required financing and other sources of funds on acceptable terms, if at all, as well as the risks discussed in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company is not under any obligation, and the Company expressly disclaims any obligation, to update or alter any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

CONTACT: For More Information: Dr. Chau Cheng Senior Director, Investor Relations & Corporate Secretary (973) 605-8200, extension 123 ccheng@immunomedics.comSource:Immunomedics, Inc.