San Diego Business Journal

La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co. announced May 15 it added a new member to its board of directors.

Stephen M. Martin, vice president of Venture Opportunities for CIBA Vision, a $1 billion unit of Swiss-based Novartis AG, is a valuable addition to the board with his proven track record of new product launches, said Steven B. Engle, chairman and CEO at La Jolla Pharmaceutical.

On May 2, the biotech firm announced it will begin a late-stage trial of its lupus drug LJP 394 in the second half of 2000.

The news follows encouraging results from a Phase I/II trial.

The good news follows a spell of problems at the La Jolla-based firm, which started when partner Abbott Laboratories abandoned the experimental lupus drug development last September based on negative results of a Phase II/III trial.

To conserve cash and pursue the development of LJP 394, La Jolla Pharmaceutical laid off nearly half of its work force last year.