SEATTLE and SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, June 1, 1999- Immunex Corporation (NASDAQ: IMNX) and Genentech, Inc. (NYSE:GNE) announced today that the two companies agreed to jointly develop TRAIL/Apo2L, an entirely new approach to research in the fight against cancer. Pending FDA approval, the companies have also agreed to jointly commercialize the product.
"Combining our world class leadership in science and pharmaceutical development enhances our ability to more efficiently evaluate TRAIL/Apo2L and its potential to fight cancer," said Arthur D. Levinson, PhD, Genentech president and CEO, and Ed Fritzky, Immunex chairman and CEO, in a joint statement. "Should the science and clinical studies prove consistent with the preclinical findings that the molecule has already shown, our companies are poised to move to the next level of development with this new technology."
Immunex and Genentech have each conducted extensive preclinical testing of different forms of TRAIL/Apo2L. TRAIL/Apo2L, also known as TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand, appears in animal models to suppress tumor growth and causes remission of tumors, by a direct and specific mechanism known as apoptosis, or programmed cell death. TRAIL/Apo2L binds to at least four distinct receptors found on many tumor cells and signals these cells to destroy themselves through apoptosis. In preclinical research, TRAIL/Apo2L has been shown to cause a wide variety of tumor cells to undergo apoptosis while sparing normal cells. Preclinical studies have not identified significant toxicities from TRAIL/Apo2L administration.
The companies will form a joint steering committee and project team to
select a single lead molecule for development, manage the development process,
and allocate clinical, manufacturing and marketing responsibilities to each
company. Immunex and Genentech each have filed patent applications covering
TRAIL/Apo2L and its uses, and Immunex was awarded a patent coveri
Contact: Tim Warner