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Immunomedics rises on new patent for drugs

NEW YORK (AP) -- Immunomedics, which has no drugs approved for sale on the market, has been awarded a patent that covers two of its experimental cancer drugs. Shares jumped 9 percent Tuesday.

The biopharmaceutical developed technology that links a drug called SN-38 to antibodies that help deliver the drug to a tumor. Immunomedics said the patent expires in December 2027.

SN-38 is related to irinotecan, a drug used to treat colorectal cancer. Immunomedics says SN-38 can't be dissolved in water or administered directly to patients, but the company has developed a link in which the drug does become soluble. SN-38 is a component of Immunomedics' drugs IMMU-130 and IMMU-132.

The Morris Plains, N.J., company said IMMU-132 is in mid-stage testing as a treatment for small cell lung cancer and other types of solid tumors. Immunomedics said earlier this month that IMMU-132 will receive orphan drug incentives as a treatment for small cell lung cancer.

Immunomedics is studying a drug called epratuzumab as a treatment for leukemia and lymphoma, and it has licensed the drug to UCB SA as a treatment for conditions other than cancer. UCB is conducting late-stage testing of the drug as a treatment for lupus.

Shares of Immunomedics Inc. rose 38 cents to $4.55 in afternoon trading.