Immunicon Corporation and Fox Chase Cancer Center Awarded NIH Technology Transfer Grant

June 13, 2005

Applied Clinical Trials

Immunicon Corporation {Nasdaq: IMMC} announced today that it and the Fox Chase Cancer Center, based in the Philadelphia area, were awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer grant totaling approximately $587,000 by the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”). The NIH grant is intended to fund the development of a new strategy to actively monitor the effectiveness of cancer drugs in clinical trials.

Huntingdon Valley, PA, June 13, 2005 -- Immunicon Corporation {Nasdaq: IMMC} announced today that it and the Fox Chase Cancer Center, based in the Philadelphia area, were awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer grant totaling approximately $587,000 by the National Institutes of Health ("NIH"). The NIH grant is intended to fund the development of a new strategy to actively monitor the effectiveness of cancer drugs in clinical trials.

"We look forward to collaborating with the Fox Chase Cancer Center on this important research," said Dr. Leon Terstappen, Immunicon's Chief Scientific Officer. "We believe our technology can make an important contribution to the complex process of carrying out the development of new and exciting therapies in cancer."

In recent years, physicians have been able to offer, and patients have benefited from new drugs that specifically target tumor cells. These new, targeted drugs often prolong life without the serious side effects typical of some traditional treatments. Scientists are now exploring new ways to expedite this process of researching and developing targeted therapies; a process that often takes a decade or more.

"The development of new treatments for cancer would be greatly facilitated if we could sample a person's tumor multiple times during treatment," explained Louis M. Weiner, M.D., vice president of translational research and chairman of medical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center. "However, it isn't always possible or appropriate to perform repeat biopsies that are invasive and sometimes uncomfortable or painful."

To remedy these perceived shortcomings in cancer treatment development, researchers at Immunicon and Fox Chase are pursuing novel ways to investigate the pharmacodynamics, or the drug-tumor interaction, by examining a patient's blood for the presence of tumor cells and tumor cell material.

"We now know that even early cancers can shed tumor cells into the bloodstream that then circulate throughout the body," Weiner said. "The overall goal of our research is to investigate the circulating tumor cells in a patient's blood to see if those cells can tell us what effect, if any, a drug is having on the tumor. In the future, we may be able to know within the first few weeks or even sooner whether a drug is working for a patient. If it isn't working, therapy can be changed without the loss of additional precious time."

The current way of tracking the progress of treatment is to wait approximately three months or more to see if a CT scan or MRI can detect tumor changes related to treatment.

"Another benefit of analyzing the drug-tumor interaction is determining the right drug dose," Weiner added. "In many cases, the appropriate drug dose isn't what can be maximally tolerated but rather the lowest dose found to selectively and thoroughly inhibit the function of the tumor."

In addition to counting circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in samples of the patient's blood, researchers will analyze gene expression in such CTCs using microarray analysis. Earlier studies have shown that microarray analysis of gene expression conducted on CTCs corresponds to gene expression patterns seen at tumor sites. Now, the work will be extended to determine the feasibility of using CTCs to monitor the effects of investigational therapy in clinical trials.

Small Business Technology Transfer Program
The National Institutes of Health's Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program is designed to encourage collaboration between academia and small businesses. STTR grants provide support for research and development of new technologies and methodologies that have the potential to succeed as commercial products.

Fox Chase Cancer Center
Fox Chase Cancer Center was founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as the nation's first cancer hospital. In 1974, Fox Chase became one of the first institutions designated as a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center. Fox Chase conducts basic, clinical, population and translational research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at www.fccc.edu or call 1-888-FOX CHASE.

Immunicon Corporation
Immunicon Corporation is developing and commercializing proprietary cell- and molecular-based human diagnostic and life science research products with an initial focus on cancer disease management. The Company has developed platform technologies for selection and analysis of rare cells in blood, such as circulating tumor cells and circulating endothelial cells that are important in many diseases and biological processes. Immunicon's products and underlying technology platforms also have application in the clinical development of cancer drugs and in cancer research and may have applications in other fields of medicine, such as cardiovascular and infectious diseases.

The information contained in this press release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are often preceded by words such as "hope," "may," "believe," "anticipate," "plan," "expect," "intend," "assume," "will" and similar expressions. The Company cautions investors not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release, reflect management's current expectations and involve certain factors, such as risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to be far different from those suggested by the Company's forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, risks associated with: the Company's dependence on Veridex, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson company; the Company's capital and financing needs; research and development and clinical trial expenditures; commercialization of the Company's product candidates; the Company's ability to use licensed products and to obtain new licenses from third parties; the Company's ability to manage its growth; obtaining necessary regulatory approvals; reliance on third party manufacturers and suppliers; reimbursement by third party payors to the Company's customers for the Company's products; compliance with applicable manufacturing standards; the ability to earn license and milestone payments under the Company's agreement with Veridex; retaining key management or scientific personnel; delays in the development of new products or to planned improvements to the Company's products; effectiveness of the Company's products compared to competitors' products; protection of the Company's intellectual property and other proprietary rights; conflicts with the intellectual property of third parties; product liability lawsuits that may be brought against the Company; labor, contract or technical difficulties; and competitive pressures in the Company's industry. These factors are discussed in more detail in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Related Content:

News