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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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February 12, 2009

Want A Hard Disease Target? Try Lupus

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Posted by Derek

Just ask La Jolla Pharmaceuticals, whose small stock is down about 90 per cent on the bad news. They follow a distinguished list of wipeouts in this area. Immunology is hard.

Comments (8) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Clinical Trials


1. atphan on February 12, 2009 2:09 PM writes...

As Gregory House always says, "It's never Lupus"...

On another note, living in La Jolla and knowing many researchers already hit by downsizing at various local companies, this is sobering news.

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2. Hap on February 12, 2009 2:57 PM writes...

Maybe not as hard as running a company specializing in immunology. It seems about as profitable as specializing in electrical work in rainstorms while wearing aluminum foil and covered in napalm.

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3. Anon-e on February 12, 2009 5:29 PM writes...

"Maybe not as hard as running a company specializing in immunology"

--poor Dynavax, t'was good while it lasted.

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4. The Inorganic Gardener on February 13, 2009 8:58 AM writes...

Whilst I'm disappointed (as a lupus patient myself), I'm not surprised. I think SLE is one of the diseases that'll never have a "proper" treatment as it is, by definition, so multifaceted and complex and virtually every patient has different symptoms. It probably needs reclassifying into multiple different diseases - which then might mean they can be targeted better by the drugs companies?


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5. Pfizerite on February 14, 2009 3:03 PM writes...

As the patient pool gets smaller and smaller the interest by pharma in the disease gets less and less

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6. Sili on February 15, 2009 6:56 AM writes...

How related are Lupus and Psoriasis?

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7. Jonadab the Unsightly One on February 16, 2009 7:41 AM writes...

Frankly, if they could just figure out how to reliably *diagnose* Lupus, that would be progress.

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8. 3+speckled on February 19, 2009 11:25 PM writes...

No need to be so glum. The failures of late were only relative. The mycophenolate mofetil trials showed equal efficacy with cyclophosphamide which was a failure as far as the FDA was concerned but was great news for rheumatologists. The rituximab bust was a big surprise but most agree that the study was a set up for failure. The ongoing lupus nephritis study, with more easily studied objectives, will hopefully bring better news. I'm pretty happy with just mycophenolate mofetil. Rituximab would make me giddy.

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