* Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., began a Phase I/II trial of 5G1.1, its anti-inflammatory complement inhibitor for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. The study is expected to enroll 24 patients. The company recently launched a clinical trial of 5G1.1 in another autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis. The drug is a fully humanized monoclonal antibody against C5, a key protein in triggering the complement system, which is a group of proteins that are part of the body's immune response.* Axys Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, said its researchers have identified the 3-D structure of cathepsin S, an enzyme associated with normal cellular protein degradation. With the structure delineated, Axys has identified the binding site and other characteristics necessary for development of therapeutic compounds to inhibit the protease. The research was published in the June 1998 issue of Protein Science.
* Bioject Medical Technologies Inc., of Portland, Ore., entered a collaboration with GeneMedicine Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, to apply the former's needle-free, jet injection devices for delivery of the latter's gene-based vaccines. Financial terms were not disclosed.