IDEC Pharmaceuticals Launches First Radioimmunotherapy; Novel Cancer Therapy Zevalin Now Commercially Available in the United States

(BW HealthWire) — IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nasdaq: IDPH) today announced that Zevalin(TM) (ibritumomab tiuxetan) is commercially available for use nationwide, and that the company will begin accepting orders for Zevalin from authorized commercial radiopharmacies immediately. The company will begin fulfilling orders on Thursday, March 28. IDEC received FDA approval to market Zevalin in the United States on February 19, 2002.

“We know physicians and patients are eagerly awaiting this innovative therapy,” said William H. Rastetter, chairman and chief executive officer of IDEC Pharmaceuticals. “We are pleased to make it available to them just weeks after receiving FDA approval.”

Zevalin is the first radioimmunotherapy to receive FDA approval. Zevalin, as part of the Zevalin therapeutic regimen, is indicated for the treatment of relapsed or refractory low grade, follicular, or transformed B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) including patients with Rituxan(R) (Rituximab) refractory follicular NHL.

Radioimmunotherapies are made by linking monoclonal antibodies to radioactive isotopes. When infused into a patient, these radiation-carrying antibodies circulate in the body until they locate and bind to the surface of specific cells, and then deliver their cytotoxic radiation directly to malignant cells. Zevalin, a monoclonal antibody linked to the radioisotope Yttrium-90, targets the CD20 antigen on the surface of mature B cells and B-cell tumors, inducing cellular damage in the target and neighboring cells.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the fifth most common type of cancer diagnosed in the United States. For reasons that include the aging of the U.S. population, incidence of NHL has increased significantly over the past 20 years. It is estimated that approximately 300,000 people are currently living with NHL in the U.S.

IDEC Pharmaceuticals

IDEC Pharmaceuticals focuses on the commercialization and development of targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. IDEC’s antibody products act chiefly through immune system mechanisms, exerting their effect by binding to specific, readily targeted immune cells in the patient’s blood or lymphatic system.

For a menu of IDEC’s current news releases and quarterly reports or to retrieve a specific release, call (888) 329-2309. On the Internet check the News Center at IDEC’s website: Full prescribing information for Zevalin may be obtained online at or by calling 1-877-878-4332. Full prescribing information for Rituxan is available online at or by calling 1-877-878-4332. You may listen to a discussion of Zevalin pre-launch details by IDEC management today at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time by calling 800-252-8295. The conference call password code is 20465970. This call will be archived until April 1, 2002. Or you may listen to a live webcast of the call by visiting the Investor Relations section of the IDEC website.

The statements made in this press release contain certain forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual events or results may differ from IDEC’s expectations. For example, the timing, success and cost of preclinical research and clinical studies, the timing, acceptability and review periods for regulatory filings, the timing of and ability to obtain regulatory approval of products, the timing of product launches, the achievement of future product sales, the level of manufacturing performance and the risk factors listed from time to time in IDEC’s SEC filings including but not limited to its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2000 and Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2001, may affect the actual results achieved by IDEC. These forward-looking statements represent the company’s judgment as of the date of this release. The company disclaims, however, any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

IDEC Pharmaceuticals is a registered trademark of the company. Zevalin is a trademark of the company. The company’s headquarters are located at 3030 Callan Road, San Diego, CA 92121.CONTACT: IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corporation Connie Matsui, Senior Vice President, Planning & Resource Development 858/431-8656

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