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NEW RESEARCH FURTHER SUPPORTS POTENTIAL OF ALTEON'S AMINOGUANIDINE FOR TREATING DIABETIC COMPLICATIONS AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

 -- Founding Scientist of Alteon Wins Prestigious Award --
 LAS VEGAS, Nev., June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Alteon, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALTN)


announced today that at the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) 53rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Session here, researchers presented the results of several major new studies that further support the role of advanced glycosylation end-products (A.G.E.s) in diabetic complications and atherosclerosis and the potential of their treatment with Alteon's aminoguanidine, an inhibitor of A.G.E formation. These studies add to the scores of publications that have demonstrated efficacy of aminoguanidine in animal models including all of the major diabetic complications and other studies in humans have supported the potential of aminoguanidine in these diseases.
 Also at the meeting, the ADA's Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Michael Brownlee, Professor of Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, and a member of Alteon's Scientific Advisory Board. This is one of the ADA's most prestigious awards. While at the Rockefeller University, Dr. Brownlee was one of the principal scientists in the team that discovered the role of A.G.E.s in diabetic complications and identified the potential utility of aminoguanidine in treating diabetic complications. He continues to study the role of A.G.E.s in diabetes in his laboratory.
 Aminoguanidine is designed to inhibit the damage to cells, tissues and organs caused when A.G.E.s are formed as the result of glucose in the body's circulatory system. These A.G.E.s act as chemical traps that damage proteins by forming permanent attachments, or cross-links, with other proteins. A.G.E. formation and cross-linking are a natural consequence of aging, but occur at an accelerated rate in diabetic patients.
 New research continues to support the role of A.G.E.s in the development of atherosclerosis resulting in the hardening of the arteries responsible for heart attack and stroke, and which occur at an accelerated rate in diabetic individuals. Researchers from the Picower Institute for Medical Research reported that aminoguanidine markedly inhibited the formation of A.G.E-LDL cholesterol that occurs when A.G.E. peptides isolated from diabetic patients were incubated with human LDL cholesterol. This study supports their recent discovery of the role of A.G.E. formation on low density lipoprotein (LDL), which prolongs the circulation in the body of this form of cholesterol. This work builds on another study (Clinical Research 41:183A, 1993) which demonstrated that aminoguanidine significantly reduces levels of LDL in diabetic patients. LDL has been termed the "bad cholesterol" because it is most strongly linked to heart disease and stroke. This new study was reported by Zenji Makita, Hubert Fuh, and Helen Viassara, and was part of an Alteon Phase I clinical program.
 "These studies may point to an important therapy for lowering cholesterol levels and decreasing the risk of heart attack and stroke," said Charles A. Faden, Alteon's chairman and CEO. "Aminoguanidine has already been found to intervene in other aspects of atherosclerosis in experimental animals, including atherosclerotic plaque formation and lipid oxidation. Our planned Phase III trials with aminoguanidine in end-stage renal disease are designed to evaluate directly the effect of aminoguanidine on major vessel disease in diabetic patients," said Faden. Aminoguanidine is being developed in collaboration with the company's joint clinical development/joint marketing corporate partner, Marion Merrell Dow Inc. (NYSE: MKC).
 The same research group together with Richard Bucaia also of the Picower Institute and Theodor Koschinsky of the Diabetes Research Institute, Dusseldorf, Germany, reported that the level of A.G.E.-LDL in the blood of diabetic patients is correlated with both the number and the severity of diabetic complications. A group at Dartmouth College in collaboration with the Picower Institute demonstrated that the A.G.E. levels in skin are correlated with the degree of retinopathy and kidney disease. This study was authored by Paul J. Beisswenger, Anthony Cerami, Smith Jean, Truis Brinck-Johnsen, and Thomas Curphey.
 At the meeting, researchers at Alteon Inc. presented data on a novel aminoguanidine analog that is under development as a potential inhibitor of A.G.E. formation. It displayed significant in vitro activity and in vivo efficacy in diabetic rats. Alteon researchers also presented data on the effect of aminoguanidine on levels of hemoglobin-A.G.E. and urinary A.G.E. in rats. These measurements provide markers for the activity of aminoguanidine in preventing A.G.E. formation, and consequent complications such as diabetic kidney disease.
 Picower Institute researchers, in collaboration with a scientist at Rockefeller University, reported results of studies that suggest that increased DNA mutations in embryos of pregnant diabetic rats as a result of elevated blood sugar levels may be responsible for the increase in birth defects reported in children of diabetic mothers. These studies extend to mammals, previous studies in bacteria which showed that increased glucose levels led to increased DNA-A.G.E. High glucose levels in the mother's circulation with result in higher glucose levels in the embryo which presumably induce mutations in embryonic DNA. The authors of this study are Annette Lee, Andrew Plump, Anthony Cerami, and Richard Bucaia.
 Researchers from the Netherlands and France reported results of studies evaluating blood vessel elasticity in diabetic rats treated with aminoguanidine. Untreated diabetic rats had significantly less elasticity, attributed to A.G.E. formation and cross-linking of arterial collagen. Treatment with aminoguanidine for 10-12 weeks resulted in improved vessel mechanical properties when compared to that of untreated diabetic animals. Such vessel impairment in diabetes may promote atherosclerosis, and this study further supports the utility of aminoguanidine in treating major vessel disease. This study was authored by Maya S.P. Huijberts, Bruce H.R. Wolffenbuttel, Francy R.L. Crijns, Harry A.J. Struijker Boudier, Pierre Poitevin and Bernard I. Levy.
 The ADA estimates that 14 million people have diabetes. There is currently no effective drug therapy for diabetic complications, which affect 1.3 million Americans. Diabetes and its complications are a leading cause of death in the United States.
 More than 4,000 scientists, physicians and other healthcare officials from around the world attended the 1993 ADA meeting, which ended June 15th. In addition to the work presented here, five important scientific papers and abstracts have been published in leading scientific journals since the 1992 ADA meeting showing efficacy in animal models of aminoguanidine in treating diabetic complications.
 Alteon is a development-stage pharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of products for the treatment of the complications of diabetes and aging.
 -0- 6/16/93
 /CONTACT: Charles A. Faden, chairman and CEO of Alteon, Inc., 201-784-1010, or Anthony Russo, M.D. of Noonan/Russo Communications, Inc., 212-979-9180, for Alteon, Inc./
 (ALTN MKC)


CO: Alteon Inc. ST: New Jersey IN: MTC SU:

TM-LD -- NY074 -- 2820 06/16/93 17:54 EDT
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