Abgenix and Immunex to Initiate Phase 2 Clinical Trial Of ABX-EGF in Kidney Cancer

Apr 18, 2001, 01:00 ET from Immunex Corporation

    FREMONT, Calif. and SEATTLE, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Abgenix, Inc.
 (Nasdaq:   ABGX) and Immunex Corporation (Nasdaq:   IMNX) announced today that the
 companies will start a Phase 2 clinical trial of ABX-EGF in patients with
 kidney cancer.  The Phase 2 trial will assess the tolerability and efficacy of
 ABX-EGF as monotherapy (without concomitant chemotherapy) in patients with
 kidney cancer.  ABX-EGF is being developed jointly by Abgenix and Immunex.
 Initiation of this study triggers a milestone payment from Immunex to Abgenix.
     This multi-center, multiple-dose study will enroll up to 80 patients
 across North America.  Patients will receive eight weekly intravenous
 infusions at varying doses of ABX-EGF.  Preliminary results from an ongoing
 Phase 1 study support the dose-escalating Phase 2 study protocol in kidney
 cancer.
     "We are happy to be moving forward with the first of several Phase 2
 trials for ABX-EGF, our lead oncology antibody therapy in development," stated
 R. Scott Greer, chairman and chief executive officer of Abgenix.  "In the
 coming months, Abgenix and Immunex will initiate a series of Phase 2 clinical
 trials to explore the tolerability and efficacy of ABX-EGF in additional
 cancer indications.  Our hope is to provide effective, antibody-based
 therapeutic options for cancer patients."
     "We are encouraged by the preliminary results we are seeing in the Phase 1
 trial for ABX-EGF," said Douglas Williams, Ph.D., Immunex executive vice
 president and chief technology officer.  "The potential ability of ABX-EGF to
 target the EGF receptor is an exciting approach in cancer research, making it
 a valuable addition to the Immunex arsenal of oncology molecules."
     Preliminary results of an ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial of ABX-EGF will
 be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual
 meeting in May 2001.
 
     About ABX-EGF
     ABX-EGF is a fully human monoclonal antibody that targets the epidermal
 growth factor receptor (EGFr), which is over-expressed on a variety of cancers
 including lung, breast, bladder, prostate, colorectal, kidney and head and
 neck cancer.  It has been demonstrated that cancer cells can become dependent
 on growth signals mediated through the EGFr for their survival.  In mouse
 models, ABX-EGF monotherapy has been shown to both eradicate established human
 tumors and block the growth of human tumors.
     Overexpression of the EGFr has been reported to occur in 70-90% of kidney
 cancer tumors.  In 2000, there were approximately 12,000 deaths associated
 with kidney cancer and approximately 31,000 new cases of kidney cancer in the
 United States.  Renal cell carcinoma or kidney cancer is characterized by a
 lack of early warning signs, which results in a high proportion of patients
 being diagnosed with advanced disease.  In cases where localized kidney tumors
 are detected at an early stage, surgery provides the only curative therapy.
 Metastatic kidney cancer is highly resistant to systemic therapies.
 Therapeutic options for patients with advanced kidney cancer are very limited.
     "There is an unmet medical need for new treatment options for patients
 with kidney cancer," said Robert Figlin, M.D., Professor of Medicine and
 Urology of the Johnsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UCLA School of
 Medicine.  "ABX-EGF, as a fully human monoclonal antibody, represents a
 promising therapeutic approach to solid tumors, and I am encouraged by its
 potential application in kidney cancer."
     Abgenix is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and
 commercialization of fully human monoclonal antibody therapies for a variety
 of diseases.  The company's antibody technology platform, which includes
 XenoMouse(TM) technology, enables the rapid generation and selection of high
 affinity, fully human antibody product candidates to essentially any disease
 target appropriate for antibody therapy.  Abgenix leverages its leadership
 position in human antibody technology by building a large and diversified
 product portfolio through the establishment of licensing arrangements with
 multiple pharmaceutical, biotechnology and genomics companies and through the
 development of its own internal proprietary products.  For more information on
 Abgenix, visit the company's website at www.abgenix.com.
     Immunex Corporation is a leading biopharmaceutical company dedicated to
 improving lives through immune system science innovations.
     Statements made in this press release about ABX-EGF clinical trials,
 Abgenix's XenoMouse technology, product development activities and
 collaborative arrangements other than statements of historical fact, are
 forward looking statements and are subject to a number of uncertainties that
 could cause actual results to differ materially from the statements made,
 including risks associated with the success of clinical trials, the progress
 of research and product development programs, the regulatory approval process,
 competitive products, future capital requirements and the extent and breadth
 of Abgenix's patent portfolio.  Please see Abgenix's public filings with the
 Securities and Exchange Commission for information about risks that may affect
 Abgenix.
 
     NOTE:  Except for the historical information contained herein, this news
 release contains forward-looking statements that involve substantial risks and
 uncertainties.  Among the factors that could cause actual results or timelines
 to differ materially are risks associated with research and clinical
 development, regulatory approvals, our supply capabilities and reliance on
 third-party manufacturers, product commercialization, competition, litigation
 and other risk factors listed from time to time in reports filed by Immunex
 with the SEC, including but not limited to risks described under the caption
 "Important Factors That May Affect Our Business, Our Results of Operations and
 Our Stock Price" within our most recently filed Form 10-K.  The
 forward-looking statements contained in this news release represent our
 judgment as of the date of this release.  Immunex undertakes no obligation to
 publicly update any forward-looking statements.
 
 

SOURCE Immunex Corporation
    FREMONT, Calif. and SEATTLE, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Abgenix, Inc.
 (Nasdaq:   ABGX) and Immunex Corporation (Nasdaq:   IMNX) announced today that the
 companies will start a Phase 2 clinical trial of ABX-EGF in patients with
 kidney cancer.  The Phase 2 trial will assess the tolerability and efficacy of
 ABX-EGF as monotherapy (without concomitant chemotherapy) in patients with
 kidney cancer.  ABX-EGF is being developed jointly by Abgenix and Immunex.
 Initiation of this study triggers a milestone payment from Immunex to Abgenix.
     This multi-center, multiple-dose study will enroll up to 80 patients
 across North America.  Patients will receive eight weekly intravenous
 infusions at varying doses of ABX-EGF.  Preliminary results from an ongoing
 Phase 1 study support the dose-escalating Phase 2 study protocol in kidney
 cancer.
     "We are happy to be moving forward with the first of several Phase 2
 trials for ABX-EGF, our lead oncology antibody therapy in development," stated
 R. Scott Greer, chairman and chief executive officer of Abgenix.  "In the
 coming months, Abgenix and Immunex will initiate a series of Phase 2 clinical
 trials to explore the tolerability and efficacy of ABX-EGF in additional
 cancer indications.  Our hope is to provide effective, antibody-based
 therapeutic options for cancer patients."
     "We are encouraged by the preliminary results we are seeing in the Phase 1
 trial for ABX-EGF," said Douglas Williams, Ph.D., Immunex executive vice
 president and chief technology officer.  "The potential ability of ABX-EGF to
 target the EGF receptor is an exciting approach in cancer research, making it
 a valuable addition to the Immunex arsenal of oncology molecules."
     Preliminary results of an ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial of ABX-EGF will
 be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual
 meeting in May 2001.
 
     About ABX-EGF
     ABX-EGF is a fully human monoclonal antibody that targets the epidermal
 growth factor receptor (EGFr), which is over-expressed on a variety of cancers
 including lung, breast, bladder, prostate, colorectal, kidney and head and
 neck cancer.  It has been demonstrated that cancer cells can become dependent
 on growth signals mediated through the EGFr for their survival.  In mouse
 models, ABX-EGF monotherapy has been shown to both eradicate established human
 tumors and block the growth of human tumors.
     Overexpression of the EGFr has been reported to occur in 70-90% of kidney
 cancer tumors.  In 2000, there were approximately 12,000 deaths associated
 with kidney cancer and approximately 31,000 new cases of kidney cancer in the
 United States.  Renal cell carcinoma or kidney cancer is characterized by a
 lack of early warning signs, which results in a high proportion of patients
 being diagnosed with advanced disease.  In cases where localized kidney tumors
 are detected at an early stage, surgery provides the only curative therapy.
 Metastatic kidney cancer is highly resistant to systemic therapies.
 Therapeutic options for patients with advanced kidney cancer are very limited.
     "There is an unmet medical need for new treatment options for patients
 with kidney cancer," said Robert Figlin, M.D., Professor of Medicine and
 Urology of the Johnsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UCLA School of
 Medicine.  "ABX-EGF, as a fully human monoclonal antibody, represents a
 promising therapeutic approach to solid tumors, and I am encouraged by its
 potential application in kidney cancer."
     Abgenix is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and
 commercialization of fully human monoclonal antibody therapies for a variety
 of diseases.  The company's antibody technology platform, which includes
 XenoMouse(TM) technology, enables the rapid generation and selection of high
 affinity, fully human antibody product candidates to essentially any disease
 target appropriate for antibody therapy.  Abgenix leverages its leadership
 position in human antibody technology by building a large and diversified
 product portfolio through the establishment of licensing arrangements with
 multiple pharmaceutical, biotechnology and genomics companies and through the
 development of its own internal proprietary products.  For more information on
 Abgenix, visit the company's website at www.abgenix.com.
     Immunex Corporation is a leading biopharmaceutical company dedicated to
 improving lives through immune system science innovations.
     Statements made in this press release about ABX-EGF clinical trials,
 Abgenix's XenoMouse technology, product development activities and
 collaborative arrangements other than statements of historical fact, are
 forward looking statements and are subject to a number of uncertainties that
 could cause actual results to differ materially from the statements made,
 including risks associated with the success of clinical trials, the progress
 of research and product development programs, the regulatory approval process,
 competitive products, future capital requirements and the extent and breadth
 of Abgenix's patent portfolio.  Please see Abgenix's public filings with the
 Securities and Exchange Commission for information about risks that may affect
 Abgenix.
 
     NOTE:  Except for the historical information contained herein, this news
 release contains forward-looking statements that involve substantial risks and
 uncertainties.  Among the factors that could cause actual results or timelines
 to differ materially are risks associated with research and clinical
 development, regulatory approvals, our supply capabilities and reliance on
 third-party manufacturers, product commercialization, competition, litigation
 and other risk factors listed from time to time in reports filed by Immunex
 with the SEC, including but not limited to risks described under the caption
 "Important Factors That May Affect Our Business, Our Results of Operations and
 Our Stock Price" within our most recently filed Form 10-K.  The
 forward-looking statements contained in this news release represent our
 judgment as of the date of this release.  Immunex undertakes no obligation to
 publicly update any forward-looking statements.
 
 SOURCE  Immunex Corporation