In addition to the five candidates, Immunogen expects to have 1-3 additional compounds in clinical stages by June of 2008. Potential candidates may be compounds which are being developed in partnership with Biogen Idec, Centocor, and of course Genentech and Sanofi-Aventis. 2 promising compounds that have demonstrated great pre-clinical results have been discussed in recent scientific publications. The first is an anti CD79 ADC, based on immunogen’s DM1, which is developed by Genentech for the huge market of NHL treatment. Interestingly, the DM1-based compound was compared head to head with a compound based on Seattle Genetics’ (SGEN) technology and there were no substantial differences between the two compounds regarding their activity in mice. It remains to be seen, whether Genentech decides to advance any of the compounds into clinical trials. The second article was published by Centocor and evaluated 3 different ADCs based on Immunogen’s technology that target ανintegrins, which are present on several tumors including lung cancer and melanoma. One of these ADCs, CNTO 365, showed the most promising results.
In summary, we believe that not only does Immunogen have an impressive and diverse pipeline, they also have an attractive platform for developing new ADCs, either independently or via its partnerships. This platform will hopefully lead to a constant flow of candidates into the clinic in the coming years, without putting too much pressure on the company’s expense line. Even after acknowledging that statistically, the majority of its evaluations will probably fail, we view Immunogen as a very attractive long-term play.
Author is long IMGN