La Jolla warns of cash shortage

La Jolla Pharmaceutical announced it received fast-track status for its experimental drug for lupus renal disease -- Riquent -- but added that it won't have enough money to sustain operations past the first quarter of next year unless it gets a fresh injection of cash. La Jolla announced that it needed to ink a collaboration deal or gain some other source of funding to continue business. The biotech started a trial for Riquent last year but halted enrolling patients as it started to experience a cash crunch. La Jolla had a little more than $30 million in cash on March 31 as it wrapped a quarter with $9.1 million in losses.

"Lupus represents one of the most significant unmet needs in medicine today, as currently available treatments are associated with significant side effects," said Steve Engle, chairman and CEO of La Jolla. "No new treatments have been approved in the US in almost 40 years."

- read this story from the AP for more on La Jolla

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