Xoma Corp. on Friday discussed the biologic role of its potentialanti-infective, rBPI-23.

Speaking at the Third Annual Conference on Endotoxemia andSepsis in Philadelphia, the company's director of sepsisresearch, Brian Parent, said this genetically engineeredfragment of human bactericidal/permeability increasingprotein effectively inhibits binding of endotoxin to a substancecalled lipopolysaccharide binding protein. This proteinstimulates infection-fighting monocytes to produce proteinmessengers that, with other inflammatory signals released inthe presence of endotoxin, can lead to organ failure and deathof individuals suffering Gram-negative blood infections.

Xoma is investigating rBPI-23 for use in the treatment ofGram-negative sepsis and acute and chronic focal infections.

Several Phase I placebo-controlled studies of rBPI-23 havebeen completed in the U.S. and Europe with a total of 67healthy volunteers. The studies examined drug tolerance,dosages and infusion rates.

Xoma is currently evaluating potential indications for efficacytesting in Phase II studies. The company exclusively licenseshuman therapeutic and diagnostic applications from New YorkUniversity, which received U.S. patent No. 5,198,541 in Marchcovering DNA sequences coding for BPI, a natural humanprotein present in the white blood cells called granulocytes,and the production of human BPI and its fragments byrecombinant DNA methods. -- Nancy Garcia

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