As someone who has owned IMMU since 2006, and bought a huge position in 2008-2009, I am going to do a series of posts to explain why I have come to own so much, and what is the investment rationale for this company.
First a bit of history. Immunomedics was started about 25 years ago by David Goldenberg who remains the largest shareholder and Chairman of the Board, and is the key figure behind the science. It has been focused on developing humanized monoclonal antibodies (humanized Mab's have a human rather than mouse backbone, and do not have the problem of allergic reactions that mouse hybrid Mab's do). Their first product was Epratuzumab, AKA Emab, an anti-CD 22 Mab that was originally developed to image lymphoma and infections. When given to some lymphoma patients in the late 1990's it caused a few patients to go into remission. IMMU then quickly did a phase 2 study of Emab in lymphoma (NHL) and it looked like Emab could be a follow-on product to Rituxan, which hit the market in 1998 or so. Based on Emab and the stock bubble the stock ran from 2 dollars in 1999 to a peak in the 30's for a few days, then traded in the 20's for another 2 years. Meanwhile, IMMU made a deal with Amgen to do a P3 of Emab. The trials Amgen did looked at Emab as a second-line treatment of pts who failed rituxan, and Emab did not do much. Amgen then gave up on the drug and returned it to IMMU in late 2003, the stock dropped to under 4. For the next two years the company was on the ropes, and barely avoided a delisting. But the government took up Emab through the NCI and started doing some interesting studies of Emab in combination with rituxan in NHL, and IMMU did a small trial of Emab in SLE (lupus) and in another autoimmune disease called Sjogren's. Both these phase 2's were strongly positive, and IMMU got FDA approval to do a P3 of Emab in SLE. IMMU started the ALLEVIATE trial, a P3 of Emab in NHL in early 2006, and the stock began to rise from 1 to 3 dollars. They were short on cash but were saved by a 40 million dollar deal with Belgian pharma UCB to partner Emab. UCB took over the ALLEVIATE trial, but a few months later they canceled the trial on a phony bottling sterility issue, the real motive was that they wanted an early peek at the data. Meanwhile, IMMU developed another MAb, Velutuzumab, a humanized version of rituxan, in the lab slightly more potent, and got a partner in German pharma Nycomed in mid-2008 who paid 40 million for auto-immune rights to Vmab. Finally, in 2008, they revealed another product, PAM4 which is a highly potent Mab to pancreatic cancer linked to Y-90 (yttrium 90 isotope) as a highly potent targeted radiation.
In the last few years they have developed two other clinical Mabs, Milatuzumab-doxorubicin (MMab-doxo) which is an anti-CD74 Mab that appears to be highly active in multiple myeloma and lymphoma, and Levatuzumab (LMab) which is a MAb to colon cancer linked to radioactive iodine. Finally, they developed a version of Emab linked to Y-90. I will now look closer at their pipeline.
he Barron's article was the catalyst to buy IMMU for a nice trade. I suspect that the momo players will drive up the price tomorrow and that is when I will be looking to sell. Bought 8000 shares this morning when I read the article and before most saw the news regarding the story. I reiterate though that for me this is just a trade and I want to be out before the trades start to dump their shares. I may sell at the open depending on the premarket action or I might see how the day goes but I will be out before 3:00PM tomorrow. 3.70 tomorrow would be great. If action looks loosey in premarket I will sell at open.
Early Stage Pancreatic Cancer Expresses Antigen Targeted by Immunomedics, Inc.'s PAM4 Antibody
Tuesday, 17 Apr 2007 02:40pm EDT
Immunomedics, Inc. announced that the antigen targeted by the humanized PAM4 antibody is expressed in early stage pancreatic cancer specimens, a stage before the tumor becomes invasive. Using immunohistochemical labeling of patient tumor specimens, Dr. David. V. Gold of the Garden State Cancer Center, Belleville, NJ, in collaboration with Dr. Ralph. H. Hruban of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD, found that over 89% of 56 specimens of early pancreatic cancer tested positive with the PAM4 antibody. Likewise, 87% of 48 specimens of invasive adenocarcinoma of the pancreas showed positive labeling with PAM4.
Good post, I have owned a small position in IMMU for the last 18 months. First, I went to a talk on Tarceva in pancreatic cancer about 10 days ago. It hardly works and nothing else does either so the antibody-Y90 product should be persued vigorously.
Second, About 8 months ago Immu revealed that they had made a conjugate of siRNA with an antibody. Readers listen up!! Many companies have been trying to make anti-sense technology work for the last ten years. Billions $ down the drain. When you put a piece of RNA into the bloodstream it gets deactivated before it can get inside the right cells. Guess what!! IMMU might have found a way. They should persue this approach vigorously also.