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Wednesday, Jun 23, 2004

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Biocon Cuban venture adds 3 cancer vaccines

Our Bureau

Bangalore , June 22

BIOCON Biopharmaceuticals, the joint venture with Cuban research company CIMAB, has said it has added five more products to the proposed portfolio.

These will now include two additional monoclonal antibodies and three cancer vaccines, according to an agreement signed by Biocon CMD, Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, and Ms Patricia Sierra of CIMAB in Havana. Biocon said the commercialisation of these products would herald its entry into novel and proprietary products. The company is setting up a large biologicals facility to produce monoclonal antibodies. It is expected to be commissioned in the second half of 2005 to coincide with the completion of clinical evaluation of h-R3.

The new products will include: h-T1, a humanised anti-CD6 targeting immuno-suppressive monoclonal antibody for T-cell lymphoma, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis; q-T3, a chimeric anti-CD3 targeting immuno-suppressive monoclonal antibody for organ transplant; EGF cancer vaccine; TGF cancer vaccine and HER 1 cancer vaccine.

The original range included h-R3 or humanised anti-EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) targeting monoclonal antibody for cancers of head and neck, brain and lungs; recombinant granulocyte stimulating factor); and erythropoetin. A phase 2B, 4-arm clinical trial for h-R3 will shortly begin, Biocon said in a release.

Phase II clinical trials conducted in Cuba and Canada have shown complete remission in over 60 per cent of patients treated with h-R3.

Phase II trials using EGF vaccine along with chemotherapy and radiotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer has showed a doubling of survival time among other positive indications, it said.

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