REHOVOT, Israel - Peptor Ltd. reported promising interim Phase II results for DiaPep277, the company's lead product for the treatment of diabetes.

The interim analysis at 10 months demonstrated that DiaPep277 arrested the progression of Type I diabetes in both children and adults and improved clinical parameters relative to the non-treated control group.

Treated patients maintained significantly higher insulin production and required lower daily insulin doses to maintain metabolic parameters within normal levels, while the placebo-treated group almost completely lost the ability to produce insulin.

These results confirm data from an earlier seven-month interim analysis, but the differences between the treated and placebo group are more pronounced after 10 months follow-up.

Yoram Karmon, president and CEO of Peptor, said he is "excited by these results, which confirm that our approach could potentially benefit diabetics, especially if diagnosed and treated before the complications set in. Our data show that it may be possible to reduce their dependency on insulin injections." Kamon helped found the company in 1993.

DiaPep277 is the first compound based on Peptor technology to have entered Phase II trials. The intervention embraces the role of heat-shock proteins in the regulation of the immune response, and is also being tested in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, as well as in various cancers.

Another platform, dubbed SCAPL, has the potential to screen large numbers of highly specific low-molecular-weight compounds. Karmon said there are "a number of new products under development resulting from a combination of these two technology platforms."

According to the local buzz, and not disputed by the company, Peptor also appointed Nomura International plc, of London, to examine the possibility of an initial public offering in Europe.

Peptor has a staff of 53 in Israel and at a wholly owned subsidiary near Dusseldorf, Germany. Nearly half the employees have Ph.D. degrees.

Investors include Techno Venture Management (Germany), Johnson & Johnson Development Corp. (U.S.), Old Court Ltd. (UK), Nomura International plc (UK), Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Israel) and Clal Biotechnology Industries Ltd. (Israel).

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