Diagnostic Assays That Identify High Risk Cardiovascular Patients

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Haptoglobin genotype identifies patients most likely to benefit from Alteon's investigational drug ALT-2074.

Alteon Inc. announced that it has entered into an expanded licensing agreement with BioRap Technologies, Ltd., the commercialization arm of the Rappaport Family Institute for Research, Technion University, Israel, for all diagnostic devices or products for predictive purposes in vascular or cardiac diseases, including diagnostic assays for the measurement of the haptoglobin protein (Hp). A variant of haptoglobin found in people with the Haptoglobin 2-2 genotype, is a potentially important diagnostic tool. Not only can it be used to determine the risk of cardiovascular disease and morbidity and mortality in patients with diabetes, but it has been suggested that it may also help identify a patient population most likely to benefit from treatment with Alteon's investigational drug ALT-2074.

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At the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in November 2006, a research team led by Andrew P. Levy, M.D., Ph.D., of the Rappaport Institute of the Technion University, Haifa, Israel showed how the (Hp) 2-2 genotype may be associated with a larger myocardial infarction (MI) in diabetic mice, and that the administration of ALT-2074 to mice with this genotype undergoing ischemic-reperfusion injury, resulted in a reduction in myocardial injury by over 80%. Alteon believes that these results support the development of ALT- 2074, a glutathione peroxidase mimetic, as a therapy for diabetic patients with the Hp 2-2 genotype. ALT-2074 is currently in Phase 2 human clinical trials. Additional abstracts presented at the meeting and recent publications have shown that the high-cardiovascular risk associated haptoglobin type (Hp 2-2) may also be associated with a defect in reverse cholesterol transport and atherosclerosis.

Under the agreement, Alteon will make research and milestone payments and royalty payments to BioRap upon any commercialization of diagnostic and/or therapeutic products related to the licensed technology.

"The licensed technology from the Rappaport Institute complements our development efforts with ALT-2074," said Noah Berkowitz, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Alteon. "In the past year, the cardiovascular field has been plagued by large scale clinical trial failures, in which the gamble of "one size fits all" drug development has been called into question. Our targeted therapy approach is predicated on the notion that not all patients with cardiovascular disease exhibit the same underlying biology. Targeting drugs based on mechanism and disease risk may be a more effective way to deliver patients and payers what they are looking for - namely, personalized medicine."

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