IMMUNETECH IS LOOKING AT ACQUISITION
IMMUNETECH IS LOOKING AT ACQUISITION of an undisclosed "regional allergy products firm," President and CEO Gordon Ramseier told an Alex. Brown & Sons health care conference in Baltimore, Maryland on May 9. While not revealing the name of the potential acquisition, Ramseier described the company as a "small regional allergy products company" based in the southwestern U.S., specializing in controlled-release delivery of off-patent allergy drugs. The allergy products company, Ramseier said, has a total of eight sales reps and has "full distribution capability." He noted that the company is "profitable" and "rapidly growing." San Diego-based Immunetech is an R&D start-up specializing in peptide research. Immunetech is currently moving its Pentyde (pentigetide) immunomodulating peptide through the FDA for the treatment of allergies. Last fall, the subcutaneous form of the drug was reviewed by FDA's Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee, which asked the company to do additional studies to support efficacy ("The Pink Sheet" Nov. 21, T&G-1). An NDA for the nasal delivery formulation of Pentyde was submitted to FDA in 1988. The company plans to submit data to support an eyedrop formulation by the end of 1989; results from Phase III trials are now being compiled for submission to the agency, Ramseier said. Immunetech plans to self-market Pentyde to the allergist submarket via a 30-50 person detail force. Ramseier estimated the allergist market at about 5,000 physicians in the U.S. The acquisition, Ramseier said, would provide additional sales support for the Pentyde launch and funding for continued Pentyde development as well as a positive cash flow to the R&D company. Immunetech also is currently in discussions with a "major" U.S. pharmaceutical company to establish a co-promotion arrangement for Pentyde in the broader office-based physician market. In the Far East, Immunetech has an agreement with the Japanese firm Tanabe, which has exclusive marketing rights in that region in return for R&D funding and an equity position in privately-held Immunetech. For the nasal delivery form of Pentyde, which would compete for a significantly larger market than the subcutaneous injectable product, Immunetech is currently conducting a 600-750 patient trial in the mid-Atlantic states to support the NDA now on file at FDA. Ramseier said the nasal delivery Pentyde submission, when completed, will include safety and efficacy data from 1,200-1,300 patients. Further back in the pipeline, Immunetech is developing TCMP-80, a T-cell modulatory peptide, for multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus. Ramsier indicated the product may also be useful for treating rheumatoid arthritis. TCMP-80 is currently in Phase I.
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