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Health News

New Treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov 3, 2000 (BW HealthWire) -- Findings presented yesterday at the Fifth Annual Diabetic Neuropathy Satellite Meeting of the Society for Diabetic Neuropathy showed that treatment with the Sonic Hedgehog protein, under development by Curis, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRIS), restored nerve function to normal in pre-clinical models of diabetic neuropathy.

      Data from a study conducted by Dr. David Tomlinson of the University of Manchester showed complete restoration of both sensory and motor nerve function in pre-clinical models after that function was impaired. Five weeks after treatment on these models was begun, nerve conduction velocity measurements showed that sensory and motor function returned to pre-diabetic levels.

      "These findings are an important part of the pre-IND program for a Hedgehog-based treatment for diabetic neuropathy at Curis," said Doros Platika, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Curis. "The repair and restoration of normal function in nerves that have been compromised by diabetes, as shown in this study, represents a key objective of the company''s efforts in developmental biology, and we are moving forward aggressively to move such a therapy into human clinical testing."

      Of the estimated 15 million people with diabetes in the U.S., approximately six million patients have diabetic neuropathy. The market for treatments of this condition is estimated to be $1.5 billion. Additional neurological diseases that may benefit from a Hedgehog-based therapy include multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, Alzheimer''s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

      The family of Hedgehog proteins and their role in the development of neuronal cells and tissues are a key focus of ongoing research and development at Curis. The development of innovative therapies by Curis to treat a variety of disorders, including diabetes, is focused upon recreating the conditions and redirecting key inducing molecules such as those involved in the Hedgehog pathway that control the normal growth and restore the function of tissues.

      Curis, Inc. is developing products based on technologies in the emerging field of regenerative medicine. The Company is combining insights gained through the study of developmental biology with high-throughput screening capabilities, proteins, cells and biocompatible materials to facilitate the development of new regenerative medicine therapies. For more information, please visit the Curis web site at http://www.curis.com.

      The statements in this news release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties including, without limitation, risks associated with the inherent uncertainty of pharmaceutical research, product development, regulatory approval and commercialization, the impact of competitive products, patents, patent litigation, product liability, third party reimbursement, and other risks and uncertainties associated with the biotechnology industry and mergers generally. For additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, please refer to the risk factors section of the Curis joint proxy statement/prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 19, 2000.

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