MONTVALE, N.J., May 12 Synvista Therapeutics,Inc. (Amex: SYI) is increasing the Company's commercial focus with theappointment of David C. Tantillo as Senior Director, Marketing and Sales, anewly created position. Beginning today, Mr. Tantillo will be responsible forplanning and implementing commercialization of the Company's haptoglobindiagnostic test. Synvista expects commercial launch of this product in mid-2009.
Mr. Tantillo brings to Synvista nearly 20 years of broad-based industryexperience, having successfully directed programs in diabetes, oncology,infectious disease, pain, inflammation and other therapeutic areas. His workhas included diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices, as well ashealth and disease management services and managed care initiatives. Hisexperience also includes a combination diagnostic, drug and drug deliverydevice. He has overseen marketing programs for commercial products, as wellas those in early- and late-stage clinical development. He also has beeninvolved in several marketing and development partnerships, as well as withnew business acquisitions.
"David has a strong track record of success, and we are delighted towelcome him to the Synvista team to initiate our first commercializationprogram for our haptoglobin diagnostic," said Noah Berkowitz, M.D., Ph.D.,President and Chief Executive Officer of Synvista Therapeutics. "We lookforward to working with David to usher in a new era for Synvista, relyingheavily 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 Marketingat Alpharma Pharmaceuticals. From 2006 to 2007, he was U.S. Marketing Directorat Mayne Pharma, which was acquired by Hospira. Prior to that, from 2004 to2005 he was President of Pinnacle Healthcare Marketing, an independentconsultancy to the healthcare industry. Mr. Tantillo also has held a varietyof marketing and brand management positions at Becton Dickinson, F. Hoffmann-LaRoche, Schering AG (Berlex Laboratories), Eli Lilly and Company (PCS HealthSystems) and Baxter Healthcare (Caremark International).
Mr. Tantillo received MPH and MBA degrees from Illinois BenedictineCollege, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University.
The polymorphic haptoglobin (Hp) protein is derived from two alleles, 1and 2, existing at the Hp genetic locus. Three phenotypes linked to the threegenotypes, Hp 1-1, Hp 1-2 and Hp 2-2, can be identified using a proprietaryELISA assay being developed by Synvista. In multiple independent prospectivelongitudinal studies of more than 20,000 individuals, it has been establishedthat the Haptoglobin genotype is an independent risk factor for cardiovasculardisease, with a specific relationship to patients with diabetes mellitus.After accounting for conventional cardiovascular risk factors and diabetescharacteristics in these studies, research has demonstrated that there is a 2-5 fold increased risk of cardiovascular disease in people with both diabetesand the Hp 2-2 genotype (approximately 40 percent of all diabetes patients).
Currently, Synvista is developing a proprietary diagnostic test todetermine haptoglobin genotype in order to identify the subset of diabetics atgreatest risk for cardiovascular disease. Since this test is designed todetermine which diabetic patients display the highest levels of oxidativestress (Hp 2-2 individuals), it can also be used to identify the subset ofdiabetics who may benefit most from potent anti-oxidizing agents, such as SYI-2074 (previously ALT-2074). The test also can identify which patients maybenefit from 400IU of natural vitamin E. Administration of this dose and typeof vitamin E led to a 50% reduction in non-fatal myocardial infarction in theICARE study, reported earlier thi