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Immunomedics Invents Method to Label Peptides and Other Proteins, Including Antibodies, With PET and MRI Imaging Radionuclides

MORRIS PLAINS, N.J., May 28, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Immunomedics, Inc. (Nasdaq:IMMU), a biopharmaceutical company primarily focused on the development of monoclonal antibody-based products for the targeted treatment of cancer, autoimmune and other serious diseases, today announced that its U.S. Patent 8,444,956 issued, which covers methods for labeling of peptides and other molecules, including antibodies, with fluorine-18 (F-18) and fluorine-19 (F-19), two radionuclides that can be used, respectively, for positron-emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The patented invention provides a lyophilized kit form that enables labeling to be done very rapidly, which is critical for radionuclides having a short half-life. This patent will expire in the U.S. on December 19, 2027.

Cynthia L. Sullivan, President and CEO, explained: "PET with F-18 is already one of the most prevalent nuclear tracer methods used in oncology and neurology, so our scientists, as part of developing companion imaging agents for our therapeutics, strived to invent rapid and simple methods to label peptides and other proteins, including antibodies, for convenient and accurate imaging. This new patent, expanding on the 10 already issued in the U.S. covering F-18 labeling, now covers methods for producing a simple lyophilized kit that permits labeling within about 20 minutes, which is critical for F-18 that has a half-life of 110 minutes."

"In addition, the patent now covers the same labeling with F-19, which can be used for MRI, another major imaging modality for depicting, in particular, musculoskeletal and neurological structures. We hope this labeling with F-18 and F-19 could enable a dual-imaging approach, whereby the strengths of PET and MRI can be combined for more accurate imaging," Ms. Sullivan added. "Further," she remarked, "this patent shows how to use this new technology for imaging of cancer, autoimmune, and infectious diseases, particularly with antibody-based targeting agents, which is an area of our strength."

The first clinical validation of this new F-18 labeling kit was just published in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine (http://jnm.snmjournals.org/content/54/5/691.full.pdf+html), where National Institute of Health scientists, collaborating with Chinese physicians, successfully imaged all sites of lung cancer in 9 patients, using a peptide labeled by the method patented by Immunomedics. The authors reported that they could label their peptide in about 20 minutes and image the cancers within 1 hour of injecting the radiodiagnostic. This peptide is also potentially useful for imaging cardiac disease.

"We believe this PET/MRI imaging technology can be of value in the assessment and development of targeted therapeutics," Ms. Sullivan said, "and we are collaborating in this area of research with two major pharmaceutical companies, in addition to evaluating this with our own antibody-based therapeutics."

About Immunomedics

Immunomedics is a New Jersey-based biopharmaceutical company primarily focused on the development of monoclonal antibody-based products for the targeted treatment of cancer, autoimmune and other serious diseases. We have developed a number of advanced proprietary technologies that allow us to create humanized antibodies that can be used either alone in unlabeled or "naked" form, or conjugated with radioactive isotopes, chemotherapeutics, cytokines or toxins, in each case to create highly targeted agents. Using these technologies, we have built a pipeline of therapeutic product candidates that utilize several different mechanisms of action. We also have a majority ownership in IBC Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which is developing a novel DOCK-AND-LOCK™ (DNL™) method with us for making fusion proteins and multifunctional antibodies, and a new method of delivering imaging and therapeutic agents selectively to disease, especially different solid cancers (colorectal, lung, pancreas, etc.), by proprietary, antibody-based, pretargeting methods. We believe that our portfolio of intellectual property, which includes approximately 222 active patents in the United States and more than 400 foreign patents, protects our product candidates and technologies. Our strength in intellectual property has resulted in the top-10 ranking in the 2012 IEEE Spectrum Patent Power Scorecards in the Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals category. For additional information on us, please visit our website at www.immunomedics.com. The information on our 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, 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, risks associated with any cash payment that the Company might receive in connection with a sublicense involving a third party and UCB, which is not within the Company's control, new product development (including clinical trials outcome and regulatory requirements/actions), our dependence on our licensing partners for the further development of epratuzumab and veltuzumab for non-cancer indications, 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: Dr. Chau Cheng Senior Director, Investor Relations & Grant Management (973) 605-8200, extension 123 ccheng@immunomedics.comSource:Immunomedics, Inc.