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Synvista Therapeutics Increases Commercial Focus by Appointing David C. Tantillo Senior Director of Marketing and Sales

MONTVALE, N.J., May 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Synvista Therapeutics, Inc. (Amex: SYI) is increasing the Company's commercial focus with the appointment of David C. Tantillo as Senior Director, Marketing and Sales, a newly created position. Beginning today, Mr. Tantillo will be responsible for planning and implementing commercialization of the Company's haptoglobin diagnostic test. Synvista expects commercial launch of this product in mid- 2009.

Mr. Tantillo brings to Synvista nearly 20 years of broad-based industry experience, having successfully directed programs in diabetes, oncology, infectious disease, pain, inflammation and other therapeutic areas. His work has included diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices, as well as health and disease management services and managed care initiatives. His experience also includes a combination diagnostic, drug and drug delivery device. He has overseen marketing programs for commercial products, as well as those in early- and late-stage clinical development. He also has been involved in several marketing and development partnerships, as well as with new business acquisitions.

"David has a strong track record of success, and we are delighted to welcome him to the Synvista team to initiate our first commercialization program for our haptoglobin diagnostic," said Noah Berkowitz, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Synvista Therapeutics. "We look forward to working with David to usher in a new era for Synvista, relying heavily on his extensive experience in bringing products to market, specifically with testing products and in the diabetes arena."

Prior to joining Synvista, Mr. Tantillo was Director Strategic Marketing at Alpharma Pharmaceuticals. From 2006 to 2007, he was U.S. Marketing Director at Mayne Pharma, which was acquired by Hospira. Prior to that, from 2004 to 2005 he was President of Pinnacle Healthcare Marketing, an independent consultancy to the healthcare industry. Mr. Tantillo also has held a variety of marketing and brand management positions at Becton Dickinson, F. Hoffmann- LaRoche, Schering AG (Berlex Laboratories), Eli Lilly and Company (PCS Health Systems) and Baxter Healthcare (Caremark International).

Mr. Tantillo received MPH and MBA degrees from Illinois Benedictine College, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University.

About Haptoglobin

The polymorphic haptoglobin (Hp) protein is derived from two alleles, 1 and 2, existing at the Hp genetic locus. Three phenotypes linked to the three genotypes, Hp 1-1, Hp 1-2 and Hp 2-2, can be identified using a proprietary ELISA assay being developed by Synvista. In multiple independent prospective longitudinal studies of more than 20,000 individuals, it has been established that the Haptoglobin genotype is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, with a specific relationship to patients with diabetes mellitus. After accounting for conventional cardiovascular risk factors and diabetes characteristics in these studies, research has demonstrated that there is a 2- 5 fold increased risk of cardiovascular disease in people with both diabetes and the Hp 2-2 genotype (approximately 40 percent of all diabetes patients).

Currently, Synvista is developing a proprietary diagnostic test to determine haptoglobin genotype in order to identify the subset of diabetics at greatest risk for cardiovascular disease. Since this test is designed to determine which diabetic patients display the highest levels of oxidative stress (Hp 2-2 individuals), it can also be used to identify the subset of diabetics who may benefit most from potent anti-oxidizing agents, such as SYI- 2074 (previously ALT-2074). The test also can identify which patients may benefit from 400IU of natural vitamin E. Administration of this dose and type of vitamin E led to a 50% reduction in non-fatal myocardial infarction in the ICARE study, reported earlier this year. The test is being developed to be used on current ubiquitous laboratory platforms (e.g., ELISA), and also to be used in genetic testing labs. The test is also being developed such that it will apply to CMS parameters for reimbursement. Once available, the Company plans to distribute the test to hospitals and other independent labs that have high volume customers.

To bring the most effective therapy to patients who will benefit most, Synvista has developed an extensive intellectual property portfolio based on utilizing haptoglobin genotyping or phenotyping to target the use of drugs in diabetic individuals with the Hp 2-2 genotype, thereby creating an unique product portfolio that both identifies a specific patient profile and provides therapeutic solutions to address patients' needs.

About Synvista Therapeutics

Synvista Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company developing drugs to treat and prevent cardiovascular disease and nephropathy in people with diabetes. The Company believes it has identified several product candidates that 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. The Company is developing a clinical diagnostic test, based on cardiovascular risk assessment, using Haptoglobin characterization, to identify patients at high risk for cardiovascular complications of diabetes.

Synvista Therapeutics is also developing alagebrium, a proposed breaker of AGEs 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 demonstrated 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 Synvista Therapeutics to assemble a sizeable human safety database. For more information, please visit the Company's website at

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 events described in this press release, future clinical development of Synvista Therapeutics' product candidates, and other risks identified in Synvista Therapeutics' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Further information on risks faced by Synvista are detailed under the caption "Risk Factors" in Synvista Therapeutics' Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007. These filings are available on a website maintained by the Securities and Exchange Commission at The information contained in this press release is accurate as of the date indicated. Actual results, events or performance may differ materially. Synvista Therapeutics 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.

SOURCE Synvista Therapeutics, Inc.
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