With a Phase III trial of its lead drug, pimagedine, already under wayfor kidney disease in Type I diabetics, Alteon Inc. Tuesday said itstarted another Phase III trial with the compound for the sameindication in patients with the more common Type II diabetes.

Susan Pietropaolo, Alteon's manager of corporate communications,said the Type II (non-insulin dependent) diabetes trial, called Action-II, will involve 900 patients at 70 U.S. and Canadian medical centersand will take two years to complete.

The trial is designed to test the drug's ability to slow the onset ofkidney disease in diabetics. The primary endpoint is the same inAlteon's Action-I study of pimagedine for Type I (insulin dependent)diabetes patients.

Pietropaolo said the Action-I trial, involving 660 patients in the U.Sand Canada, is expected to be complete in about two and a half years.

Alteon, of Ramsey, N.J., is developing pimagedine in associationwith Marion Merrell Dow Inc., of Kansas City, Mo., which wasacquired earlier this year by Germany-based Hoechst AG for $7.1billion.

Pimagedine is a chemical compound designed to inhibit damage tocells caused by advanced glycosylation endproducts (AGE), whoseformation leads to diabetic complications, such as kidney disease.Although formation of AGEs are natural consequences of aging, theyaccumulate more rapidly in diabetics.

Alteon's stock (NASDAQ:ALTN) closed Tuesday at $8.12, up 37cents. _ Charles Craig

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