Healthcare Industry News:  La Jolla Pharmaceutical 

Biopharmaceuticals

 News Release - February 11, 2008

La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company Reports Progress in International Phase 3 Riquent(R) Study

SAN DIEGO--(HSMN NewsFeed)--La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company (Nasdaq:LJPC ) today announced significant progress in its ongoing double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized Phase 3 trial of Riquent® (abetimus sodium), its drug candidate for systemic lupus erythematosus ("lupus" or "SLE"), including additional safety data on the trial’s higher doses.

To date, 607 patients have been enrolled in the study at more than 130 clinical trial sites in 23 countries. Total enrollment in this event-driven trial is targeted for 740 patients and is expected to be complete around the end of the second quarter of 2008. The study requires a specified number of renal flare events to be observed.

The Data Monitoring Board has completed two safety reviews of the study without identifying any safety concerns. To date, more than 350 patients have been treated in the trial with either the 300 mg or 900 mg dose.

“We have made tremendous progress toward the completion of enrollment in the Phase 3 study,” said Deirdre Y. Gillespie, M.D., President and CEO of La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company. “We have increased the dose nine-fold and are very encouraged that the data continue to indicate that the 300 mg and 900 mg doses of Riquent are as well tolerated as the 100 mg dose was in our previous studies.”

Two interim efficacy analyses are planned in this event-driven trial. The first interim efficacy analysis is now expected in the second quarter of 2008. The second interim efficacy analysis is still expected to occur around the end of 2008.

The Phase 3 study is designed to assess the ability of Riquent treatment to delay the time to renal flare in lupus patients with a history of renal disease and with elevated levels of anti-dsDNA antibodies. A lupus renal flare is a potentially life-threatening increase in inflammation of the kidney due to lupus. A renal flare often requires treatment with immunosuppressive agents which can have severe side effects.

Riquent has received an Approvable Letter and Fast Track status from the Food and Drug Administration, and has received Orphan Drug designation. The current trial is being conducted under a Special Protocol Assessment.

About Riquent

Riquent is being developed to specifically treat lupus renal disease by preventing or delaying renal flares, a leading cause of sickness and death in lupus patients. It is also being studied to assess whether Riquent treatment improves proteinuria, as was observed in previous clinical trials. Proteinuria is an indicator of abnormal renal function. Riquent has been well tolerated in all 14 clinical trials, with no overall difference in the adverse event profiles for Riquent-treated patients compared with placebo-treated patients. Riquent specifically reduces circulating levels of anti-dsDNA antibodies. Increases in these antibodies are associated with an increased risk of renal flare. Although clinical benefit has not yet been proven, Riquent treatment has significantly reduced these antibody levels in all clinical trials in which they were measured.

About Lupus

Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening autoimmune disease. About 90% of lupus patients are female, and many are diagnosed with the disease during their childbearing years. Approximately 50% of lupus patients have renal disease, which can lead to irreversible renal damage, renal failure and the need for dialysis, and is a leading cause of death in lupus patients. Latinos, African Americans and Asians face an increased risk of serious renal disease associated with lupus. The current standard of care for lupus renal disease often involves treatment with high doses of corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs that can cause severe side effects including diabetes, hypertension and sterility, and may leave patients vulnerable to opportunistic infections. To date, no lupus-specific drug has been approved in the U.S.

La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company is dedicated to improving and preserving human life by developing innovative pharmaceutical products. The Company’s leading product in development is Riquent®, which is designed to treat lupus renal disease by preventing or delaying renal flares. Lupus renal disease is a leading cause of sickness and death in patients with lupus. The Company has also developed potential small molecule drug candidates to treat various other autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. The Company's common stock is traded on The NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol LJPC. More information about the Company is available on its Web site: http://www.ljpc.com.

The forward-looking statements in this press release involve significant risks, assumptions and uncertainties, and a number of factors, both foreseen and unforeseen, could cause actual results to differ materially from our current expectations. Forward-looking statements include those that express a plan, belief, expectation, estimation, anticipation, intent, contingency, future development or similar expression. The analyses of clinical results of Riquent, previously known as LJP 394, our drug candidate for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus ("lupus"), and any other drug candidate that we may develop, including the results of any trials or models that are ongoing or that we may initiate in the future, could result in a finding that these drug candidates are not effective in large patient populations, do not provide a meaningful clinical benefit, or may reveal a potential safety issue requiring us to develop new candidates. The analysis of the data from our previous Phase 3 trial of Riquent showed that the trial did not reach statistical significance with respect to its primary endpoint, time to renal flare, or with respect to its secondary endpoint, time to treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or cyclophosphamide. The results from our clinical trials of Riquent, including the results of any trials that are ongoing or that we may initiate in the future, may not ultimately be sufficient to obtain regulatory clearance to market Riquent either in the United States or any other country, and we may be required to conduct additional clinical studies to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of Riquent in order to obtain marketing approval. There can be no assurance, however, that we will have the necessary resources to complete any current or future trials or that any such trials will sufficiently demonstrate the safety and efficacy of Riquent. Our ability to develop and sell our products in the future may be adversely affected by the intellectual property rights of third parties or the validity or enforceability of our intellectual property rights. Additional risk factors include the uncertainty and timing of: obtaining required regulatory approvals, including delays associated with any approvals that we may obtain; the availability of sufficient financial resources; the timely supply of drug product for clinical trials; our ability to pass all necessary regulatory inspections; the increase in capacity of our manufacturing capabilities for possible commercialization; successfully marketing and selling our products; our lack of manufacturing, marketing and sales experience; our ability to make use of the orphan drug designation for Riquent; generating future revenue from product sales or other sources such as collaborative relationships; future profitability; and our dependence on patents and other proprietary rights. Accordingly, you should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The outcome of the events described in these forward-looking statements are subject to the risks, uncertainties and other factors described in the "Risk Factors" contained in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006, and in other reports and registration statements that we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission from time to time.


Source: La Jolla Pharmaceutical

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