Idec Pharmaceuticals Corp. has begun Phase I studies of its 3C9antibody in HIV-positive asymptomatic patients, the companysaid Friday.

The drug is designed to stimulate a patient's immune system tolaunch a response against HIV by triggering antibodyproduction from a specific subset of B cells. Idec expects 3C9 tocomplement many of the anti-viral drugs in development.

New York Life Insurance Co. entered into a funding agreementwith Idec in 1988 to provide $8.3 million in funding for thedevelopment of 3C9.

Shares of La Jolla-based Idec (NASDAQ:IDPH) were down 50cents to $13 on Friday.

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