Alteon Inc.'s researchers and collaborators presented data onthe ability of the company's aminoguanidine to treat thecomplications of diabetes and cardiovascular disease this weekat the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association inLas Vegas.

Aminoguanidine is designed to inhibit the damage to cells,tissues and organs caused by protein cross-linking-advancedglycosylation end-products (AGEs), formed as a result ofglucose in the body's circulatory system. Although theformation of AGEs and cross-linking are natural consequencesof aging, they occur at an accelerated rate in diabetic patients.

Alteon researchers presented data at the meeting on a novelaminoguanidine analog the company is developing to inhibitAGE formation. The compound displayed significant in vitroactivity and in vivo efficacy in diabetic rats. The researchersalso presented data on the effect of aminoguanidine on levelsof hemoglobin AGE and urinary AGE in rats, which couldprovide markers to track the activity of aminoguanidine.

Moreover, new research results indicate that AGEs also play arole in the development of atherosclerosis, which occurs at anaccelerated rate in diabetics. And according to the results of astudy that was part of a Phase I clinical program on Alteon's(NASDAQ:ALTN) aminoguanidine, the compound markedlyinhibits the formation of AGE-LDL (low-density lipoprotein)cholesterol that occurs when AGE peptides isolated fromdiabetic patients are incubated in vitro with human LDLcholesterol. The study was conducted and presented byresearchers from the Picower Institute for Medical Research.

"Aminoguanidine has already been found to intervene in otheraspects of atherosclerosis in experimental animals, includingatherosclerotic plaque formation and lipid oxidation," saidCharles Faden, chief executive officer of the Northvale, N.J.,company.

"Our planned Phase III trials with aminoguanidine in end-stagerenal disease are designed to evaluate directly the effect ofaminoguanidine on major vessel disease in diabetic patients,"he added.

Alteon is developing aminoguanidine in collaboration withMarion Merrell Dow Inc. The compound is currently in PhaseII/III clinical trials for treating the complications of diabetes,according to a company spokeswoman.

Alteon's stock closed at $10.50 a share on Thursday, down 25cents.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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