The Liposome Company Inc. has begun Phase III trials with itsamphotericin B lipid complex, ABLC, in AIDS patients withcryptococcal meningitis in the Republic of South Africa.

The Princeton, N.J., company (NASDAQ:LIPO) said Tuesday that10 centers in South Africa are expected to participate in thestudy, which is targeted for completion in 1994. The companyis also launching a Phase III study with systemiccryptococcosis, a related disease that primarily affects thelungs.

ABLC is available for compassionate use in the U.S. and Europefor patients with systemic fungal infections who areunresponsive to or intolerant of currently marketed drugs. TheLiposome Co. said about 300 patients have received ABLC inthe U.S. through the compassionate use program. The companyis working on Phase III protocols for testing in the U.S. andanticipates that trials will begin next year.

Amphotericin B without the lipid complex has been marketedfor many years for the treatment of fungal infections inimmunocompromised patients. At least two other companieshave liposomal formulations of the drug. Vestar Inc.'sAmBisome has been marketed in Europe since 1989 andLiposome Technology Inc.'s Amphocil was approved in theUnited Kingdom in August.-- Brenda Sandburg

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