La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co. (LJP) announced last week that ithas received a notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent andTrademark Office (PTO) for its Toleragen molecules to treatsystemic lupus erythematosis (SLE).

The privately held San Diego company said that the claimsbroadly cover a family of molecules to treat kidney disease inpatients with SLE, which is a life-threatening condition thatafflicts more than 500,000 people in the U.S. and Europe.

LJP's drug candidate LJP-394 arrests the synthesis ofantibodies to double-stranded DNA, a hallmark of the disease.The antibodies are considered to be responsible for thedebilitating chronic kidney disease in these patients. Thecompound is now moving from research and development tomanufacturing scale-up and toxicology trials.

La Jolla Pharmaceutical was spun off from Quidel Corp.(NASDAQ:QDEL) in 1989. LJP inherited two potentialtherapeutic products, one for SLE and one for myastheniagravis, while Quidel retained its diagnostics business.

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