Genentech and IDEC Pharmaceuticals to Receive 1999 Trailblazers Award From Cure for Lymphoma Foundation

Business Editors and Health/Medical Writers

(BW HealthWire) — Genentech Inc. (NYSE:DNA) and IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corp. (Nasdaq:IDPH) announced today that the companies will be honored with the 1999 Trailblazers Award from the Cure for Lymphoma Foundation. The award recognizes the companies’ groundbreaking research and development of Rituxan(R) (Rituximab), the first new, single-agent therapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 11 years and the first monoclonal antibody approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of cancer in the United States.
Susan D. Hellmann, M.D., M.P.H., executive vice president of Development and Product Operations and chief medical officer of Genentech, and Antonio J. Grillo-Lopez, M.D., chief medical officer and senior vice president, Medical and Regulatory Affairs, IDEC Pharmaceuticals, will accept the award on behalf of the two companies.
“We are pleased and honored that the Cure for Lymphoma Foundation recognizes Genentech and IDEC’s contribution to advancing the fight against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” said Dr. Hellmann.
The award will be presented at the Fifth Annual “Cabaret for the Cure,” a lymphoma research fundraiser hosted by the Cure for Lymphoma Foundation on Monday, November 8 in New York City.
“We are proud to receive this award for our work on behalf of the thousands of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients who benefit from Rituxan. The development of Rituxan demonstrates that teamwork between IDEC and Genentech and with organizations such as Cure for Lymphoma can bring comfort and hope to lymphoma patients throughout the United States,” said Dr. Grillo-Lopez.
There are more than 250,000 patients in the United States with B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, approximately half of which are low-grade or follicular lymphoma patients. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the second fastest growing cancer in terms of incidences and deaths in the United States and is diagnosed in more than 56,000 men and women each year.
Approved by the FDA in November 1997, Rituxan is indicated for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory, low-grade or follicular, CD20 positive, B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. To date, Rituxan has been used to treat more than 40,000 patients worldwide. The majority of patients experience infusion-related symptoms with their first Rituxan infusion. These symptoms include, but are not limited to, flu-like fever, chills/rigors, nausea, urticaria, headache, bronchospasm, angioedema and hypotension. These infusion-related symptoms vary in severity and are generally reversible with medical intervention.
IDEC discovered Rituxan, which was developed in collaboration with Genentech, F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Ltd. of Switzerland and Zenyaku Kogyo Co., Ltd. of Japan.
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 systems. IDEC is headquartered in San Diego, California.
Genentech, Inc. is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets human pharmaceuticals for significant unmet medical needs. Twelve of the approved products of biotechnology stem from Genentech science. Genentech markets seven products directly in the United States. The company has headquarters in South San Francisco, California and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DNA.

--30--slt/sf* CONTACT: GNE Neil Cohen, 650/225-8681 (Media Contact) Susan Bentley, 650/225-1034 (Investor Contact) or IDEC Connie Matsui, 858/550-8634 Vince Reardon, 858/431-8801 KEYWORD: CALIFORNIA INDUSTRY KEYWORD: BIOTECHNOLOGY PHARMACEUTICAL MEDICAL