Seragen Inc. on Wednesday announced preliminary results of aPhase II study with its fusion toxin in patients with severerheumatoid arthritis.

In the double-blind, placebo-controlled study of Seragen'sinitial interleukin-2 (IL-2) receptor-targeted fusion toxin,DAB486IL-2, four of 22 patients receiving the compoundshowed a response after the first course. Twenty-three patientsreceived placebo and showed no response.

The outcome appears statistically significant, said Jean Nichols,Seragen's senior vice president. "Rheumatoid arthritis studiesoften demonstrate a placebo-associated effect," she said. "Thelack of placebo effect in this study indicates that the responsecriteria were rigorous."

All patients will receive a total of three courses of thecompound at monthly intervals.

Seragen (NASDAQ:SRGN) is also conducting a Phase I/II clinicaltrial with DAB389IL-2, the new version of its IL-2 fusionstoxin, in patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis. Results areexpected in the second half of this year.

The company develops a proprietary family of receptor-targeted therapeutics that consist of toxin fragmentsgenetically fused to a hormone or growth factor that targetsspecific cell surface receptors on disease-causing cells.

Phase I and II clinical trials of Seragen's fusion toxin arecurrently in progress for recent-onset type I diabetes andchemotherapy-resistant lymphomas.

-- Nancy Garcia Associate Editor

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