SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Jan. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (RIGL: Nasdaq) today announced that two of its lead product candidates entered clinical trials during the fourth quarter of 2011. The company is evaluating R548, an oral JAK3 inhibitor, as a potential therapeutic for transplant rejection and other systemic immune disorders. The second candidate, R333, is a topical JAK/SYK inhibitor aimed at treating various phases of discoid lupus (lupus of the skin). Rigel's product pipeline will be the focus of the company's presentation at the 30th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco on Monday, January 9th at 1:30 pm Pacific Time (webcast details below). "Rigel continues to be one of the most productive companies in the biopharmaceutical sector, as evidenced by the commencement of First in Human (FIH) studies in two programs this past quarter," said James M. Gower, chairman and chief executive officer of Rigel. "The goal of our highly-talented 155 person R&D-focused organization is to add at least one new product candidate into the clinic each year for the foreseeable future and move those into proof-of-concept trials. We plan to have Phase 2 trial results in three internal programs in 2013," he added . R548, JAK3 Inhibitor Transplant rejection is an area of tremendous medical need. While 90% of patients survive the first year after receiving the transplanted organ, chronic organ rejection rates rise to 50% within the five to ten years following surgery. Currently available therapeutics are not sufficient to help these patients achieve lasting recovery. Furthermore, transplants of certain organs are rarely done because of the inadequacies of these therapies. Rigel's R548 is a JAK3 inhibitor that is expected to moderate the immune system's response to the allograft and improve patient outcomes. R548 may also have application in treating other immune system disorders. Phase 1 clinical studies in normal healthy volunteers began in the fourth quarter of 2011.