La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co. announced that it has developed amore potent second-generation drug candidate to treatsystemic lupus erythematosus, based on its proprietaryTolerance Technology.

Animal tests of the new drug candidate, named Renatol, haveshown it to be an order of magnitude or more effective thanearlier molecules, the San Diego company said. The drug willproceed to manufacturing scale-up and toxicology trials. Thecompany hopes that its increased potency and efficacy will leadto lower doses in patients and an improved efficacy/safetyprofile.

Lupus is a life-threatening disease that afflicts more that500,000 people in the U.S. and Europe, the company said. Thenew drug candidate arrests the synthesis of antibodies todouble-stranded DNA, a hallmark of the disease. Theseantibodies are considered responsible for the serious anddebilitating chronic kidney disease of lupus patients.

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