MedImmune stock up 7% on new drug's promise RespiGam praised in respected journal

November 18, 1993|By Staff Report

MedImmune Inc.'s stock leapt $2.25 a share, to close at $31.25, yesterday, a day before the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine published an editorial praising the Gaithersburg company's latest experimental drug.

In an editorial published in this morning's Journal, Kenneth McIntosh, a physician at the Children's Hospital in Boston, said MedImmune's RespiGam significantly reduced pneumonia and other dangerous respiratory illnesses in children.

"The product works," Dr. McIntosh said of the new drug, which is under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. McIntosh cautioned, however, that MedImmune's drug wasn't a perfect solution to respiratory syncytial virus -- which is responsible for respiratory illnesses that many young children get, and which kills 4,500 children a year.

Dr. McIntosh said he worried that the drug, which must be given intravenously, would be expensive and hard to administer.

In today's issue, the Journal also published an article by the 17 physicians around the country who have helped test the drug over the last three years.

The article reports that children who received the drug saw a 72 percent reduction in moderate to severe diseases associated with the virus.

`The story here is prevention, particularly in high-risk children with heart and lung disease," said Dr. Jessie R. Groothuis of the Children's Hospital at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

"The findings of this study suggest that we can prevent children from getting sick with RSV in the first place, and that's the ideal situation,` she said in a MedImmune statement announcing the results after the market closed yesterday.

The company had previously stated that about 100,000 children might take the drug each year. The company also has reported that analysts believe RespiGam's sales could exceed $300 million a year.

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