MedClone Inc. has received a small business innovativeresearch (SBIR) grant to identify novel antigens associatedwith systemic lupus erythematosus.

Lupus, the second most prevalent systemic autoimmunedisease after rheumatoid arthritis, affects more than 250,000Americans, 90 percent of them women of childbearing age.Thirty-five percent of patients die within 10 years ofdiagnosis.

The disease frequently causes serious kidney damage and canalso affect the central nervous system and blood vessels.

Privately held MedClone of Los Angeles, has filed aninvestigative new drug (IND) application to start Phase I trialson its leading vaccine against lupus, based on a monoclonalantibody. Clinical trials with MAb3E10 are expected to start inthe second quarter of this year. The company plans to use the3E10 antibody to help identify novel antigens in lupus with theSBIR grant.

MedClone is also working on idiotype vaccines and passiveimmunotherapies for rheumatoid arthritis.

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