SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc. has started treating patients withZadaxin (thymosin alpha-1) in a Phase III clinical trial inMexico, the San Mateo, Calif., company announced Thursday.

The multinational trial, being conducted at Mexico City'sInstituto Nacional de la Nutricion, will study 100 hepatitis B-infected patients from six countries -- Mexico, Costa Rica, theDominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia and Guatemala -- in acontrolled, blinded trial designed to yield safety and efficacyresults for local government marketing approval, the company(NASDAQ:SCLN) said.

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