Preliminary data from Phase II trials of La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co.'scompound for treating lupus nephritis showed that all four patientsreceiving single doses of the drug experienced reduction in levels ofantibodies linked to the disease.

The four patients were participants in the first segment in the Phase IItrials. The second phase, whose patient enrollment is complete,involves 63 people with lupus-associated kidney disease in a double-blind, dose-ranging study to compare La Jolla's drug, LJP 394, with aplacebo.

Andrew Wiseman, director of business development for San Diego-based La Jolla Pharmaceutical, said LJP 394 was "well tolerated" inpatients in the preliminary group and "we were pleasantly surprisedthat the level of antibodies went down in all four patients. The druglooks like it's doing the things it's supposed to do."

LJP 394 is derived from La Jolla's Tolerance Technology, which isdesigned to make molecules that bind to the surface of B cells andshut off their production of disease-causing antibodies. Thecompound targets antibodies to double-stranded DNA, which arebelieved to cause kidney disease, the main killer of lupus patients.

Wiseman said results of the larger Phase II trials are expected in thefirst quarter of 1996.

La Jolla Pharmaceutical's stock (NASDAQ:LJPC) closed Tuesday at$2.87, up 6 cents. _ Charles Craig

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.