* Also gets positive opinion from EU agency
* Shares up as much as 5 pct
Aug 18 Biotechnology firm ImmunoGen Inc
(IMGN.O) said its experimental treatment for small-cell lung
cancer has been granted orphan drug designation by the U.S.
ImmunoGen said it also received a positive opinion from
European regulators on granting orphan status to the drug,
lorvotuzumab mertansine, formerly known as IMGN901.
In the United States, orphan drug designation is granted to
drugs that treat a condition affecting less than 200,000
Americans. The status also grants the drugmaker marketing
exclusivity of seven years upon approval.
The drug, which is currently in mid-stage trials, already
has orphan drug designation for the treatment of Merkel cell
carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, from both the U.S. and
The company has six other cancer drugs in the pipeline, of
which the most advanced candidate -- trastuzumab-DM1 -- is in
late-stage trials. It is being developed for the treatment of
metastatic breast cancer in collaboration with Roche's ROG.VX
Shares of the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company were up
3 percent to $9.32 in afternoon trade on Nasdaq. The shares,
which have risen 29 percent over the past six months, touched a
high of $9.50 earlier in the session.
(Reporting by Esha Dey in Bangalore)