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Immtech Pharmaceuticals Inc. (IMM): Working on Cures for Rare Diseases and for Ailing Portfolios

Immtech Pharmaceuticals (IMM) is an early stage biotechnology working on cures and treatments for infectious diseases such as African Sleeping Sickness and Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP). While these diseases are rare in the developed world, they infect millions, if not billions, of people in the third world, meaning the market for Immtechs products could be nearly limitless at some point. The company is also working on a cure for malaria and sports a strong library of compounds aimed at treating bacterial and fungal infections, along with Hepatitis C.

Last month, Immtech reported a surge in fiscal first quarter sales along with a significantly narrower per-share loss. For the three months ended June 30, 2008, revenues were $1,141,000, as compared to $826,000 for the three months ended June 30, 2007. The increase was primarily attributable to revenues from a research and testing agreement. Immtech’s net loss for the period was $1,383,000, or 9 cents per share, compared to a loss of $2,796,000, or 18 cents per share, in the previous year. The company is also able to keep its research and development costs low compared to rivals through a network of endowments and research grants.

New York-based Immtech holds an exclusive worldwide license to various patents and patent applications related to technology and products derived from a proprietary pharmaceutical platform. Last year, the company’s drug used to treat PCP was “fast-tracked” by China’s equivalent of the FDA. The disease can bring on severe cases of pneumonia in patients with HIV and other diseases that compromise the immune system. The drug, pafuramidine, had its Phase II trials halted by the FDA in December 2007 on concerns that a South African safety study revealed abnormal laboratory values in several volunteers following treatment with the drug.

Immtech shares tumbled on that news and investors should take note of that fact. They closed at 62 cents on Tuesday and have traded between 48 cents and $8.60 over the past 52 weeks. The company has market value of $9.8 million. The company competes with pharmaceutical giants Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Pfizer Inc.

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