US company, Epimmune, which develops vaccines for cancer and infectious diseases, says it is to merge with France’s IDM (Immuno-Designed Molecules) – a biopharmaceutical company specialising in immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer.

Under the terms of the all-stock transaction, which is expected to close in the second or third quarter of 2005, the companies aim to create a firm focusing on seven product candidates in clinical development for cancer and infectious disease indications. These include IDM’s lead product, Mepact, which has completed a Phase III trial for osteosarcoma. It has orphan drug status in both Europe and the US and is expected to win the regulatory green light in 2007. From Epimmune are compounds including EP-2101, which is undergoing Phase II testing for non-small cell lung cancer.

On a pro forma basis, the merger firm had net cash of approximately $41 million dollars at the end of 2004, which it believes is sufficient to fund operations for the next 18 to 24 months.