MONTVALE, N.J., July 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alteon Inc. announces the appointment of Jacob Victor, Ph.D. as Executive Director, Product Development, Clinical Diagnostics, effective immediately. In this newly created position, Dr. Victor will lead the development of an immunoassay test for an initial clinical diagnostic application involving targeted drug therapy. The test will determine the genotype of haptoglobin protein (Hp), a determination that may help assess the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes. Dr. Victor will report to Noah Berkowitz, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer. Most recently, Dr. Victor directed the development, manufacture and successful FDA-clearance for eight leading-edge HLA, DNA and antibody typing diagnostic kits.
Dr. Victor will be responsible for the development, verification and validation of a diagnostic test kit based on Alteon's proprietary technology and antibodies, including laboratory and point-of-care test formats. He will develop and implement plans for advancing the product through regulatory approval and into manufacturing, and also will manage preclinical collaborations with scientists working on mechanisms and models relevant to the activities of ALT-2074 and alagebrium, the Company's lead product candidates. Recent findings point to the important clinical implications for knowing one's haptoglobin genotype. The Hp 2-2 genotype, for example, has been established in previous clinical studies involving thousands of patients as an important independent cardiovascular risk factor, especially in patients with diabetes.
"Our targeted therapy approach has the potential to deliver on the promise of personalized medicine, and this immunoassay test may help identify patients likely to respond best to treatment with ALT-2074," said Dr. Berkowitz. "Dr. Victor's 27 years of experience in clinical diagnostics, molecular biology and immunochemistry product development will be crucial as we develop our Hp test."
"I am pleased to join Alteon at this stage in the Company's development, and look forward to applying my expertise in working towards the ultimate commercialization of the Hp test," added Dr. Victor.
Prior to joining Alteon, from 1990, Dr. Victor held several senior positions at Tepnel Lifecodes Corporation including Vice President and Director of Development, Vice President of Operations and, most recently, Executive Director, U.S. Manufacturing Operations. Previously, from 1987 to 1990, he was Assistant Manager, Product Development at Enzo Biochem, and was Research Group Chief, Infectious Diseases at Roche Diagnostic Systems from 1981 to 1987. Dr. Victor graduated Magna Cum Laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa from City College of New York with a B.S. in Chemistry. He received his Ph.D. from the City University of New York followed by a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Herbert Weissbach at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in Nutley, N.J.
Alteon is a biopharmaceutical company developing small molecule drugs to treat and prevent cardiovascular disease and to treat nephropathy in people with diabetes. The Company has identified several product candidates that it believes represent novel approaches to some of the largest pharmaceutical markets. The Company's portfolio includes orally bioavailable, organoselenium mimics of glutathione peroxidase. These compounds metabolize lipid peroxides and have the potential to limit myocardial damage subsequent to a myocardial infarction. Alteon's lead compound for that program, ALT-2074, is in Phase 2 clinical trials. The Company also has rights to the use of haptoglobin characterization. The Company is developing a clinical diagnostic test that can be used to identify patients at high risk for cardiovascular complications of diabetes and other diseases.
Alteon also is developing alagebrium, a proposed breaker of Advanced Glycation End-Products (A.G.E.s), for the treatment of diastolic heart failure. This disease represents a rapidly growing market of unmet medical need, particularly common among diabetic patients. Alagebrium has shown relevant clinical activity in two Phase 2 clinical trials in heart failure, as well as in animal models of heart failure and nephropathy, among others. Alagebrium has been tested in approximately 1,000 patients in multiple Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials, allowing Alteon to assemble a sizeable human safety database.
For more detailed information about Alteon's research and development, please visit Alteon's website at www.alteon.com.
Any statements contained in this press release that relate to future plans, events or performance are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, the risks associated with the future clinical development of ALT-2074 and alagebrium, and other risks identified in Alteon's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Further information on risks faced by Alteon are detailed under the caption "Risk Factors" in Alteon's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006. These filings are available on a website maintained by the Securities and Exchange Commission at http://www.sec.gov. The information contained in this press release is accurate as of the date indicated. Actual results, events or performance may differ materially. Alteon undertakes no obligation to publicly release the result of any revision to these forward- looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.