BioStratum Cofounder and Research Consortium Receive $16 Million Diabetes Research Grant From Novo Nordisk Foundation

Research Triangle Park, N.C., April 1, 1999 --
Dr. Karl Tryggvason, vice president of research and development and co-founder of BioStratum Incorporated,
a private biopharmaceutical company based in Research Triangle Park, is spearheading a new $16 million diabetes research project in Scandinavia. The project focuses on serious medical complications such as kidney failure, blindness and cardiovascular disease in diabetes patients.

Dr. Tryggvason is heading a team of leading researchers from four Scandinavian universities, including the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, where he is professor of medical chemistry and a Nobel Prize committee member. The project is funded by a $16 million unrestricted grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation of Copenhagen and was presented to Dr. Tryggvason by the Queen of Denmark
at a recent award ceremony in Copenhagen.

The research group will study both diabetes patients and people without the disease to determine the role of small blood vessels in causing damage to the kidneys and eyes. Previous research indicates that the damage may be caused by fundamental problems in the smallest vessels.

Diabetic complications are an enormous medical problem. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and the leading cause of blindness. In addition, the incidence
of type 2 diabetes is on the rise. It is estimated that
kidney-related complications in diabetics cost the US healthcare system over $5.0 billion annually.

Dr. Tryggvason suggests that kidney damage may be impeded or even prevented from occurring in the future.
“The goal of our project is to identify how small blood vessels are effected by diabetes and how these changes lead to kidney disease and blindness. A consequence of this research may enable the insertion of specific genes into a patient's kidney and eyes that prevent the damage from occurring, and thus prevent the disease,” he said.

During the last 10 years Dr. Tryggvason and other BioStratum investigators have concentrated their research on the basal lamina, a thin membrane present in nearly
all tissues that plays a critical role in cell function, cell growth and tissue development. The basal lamina is also
a principal component of the glomerulus, the blood filtration unit of the kidney, and a major site of damage in diabetes.

“Our investment in Dr. Tryggvason's research is reaping significant rewards,” said Dr. Wesley Fox, Executive Vice President and cofounder of BioStratum. “Karl has already made a number of major contributions to understanding how the glomerulus functions in filtering blood, such as his recent discovery of the kidney filtration protein 'nephrin'.” These discoveries have identified novel therapeutic targets for important kidney diseases and BioStratum is pursuing development of treatments directed at these targets.

BioStratum is a privately held company developing proprietary therapeutics based on recent scientific advances in basal lamina and related technologies. The company's drug candidates are directed against novel
basal lamina extracellular targets involved in degenerative and invasive disease processes fundamental to kidney disease, diabetes and cancer. The company has also developed methods for the production of recombinant
basal lamina proteins for use in wound repair and
advanced tissue regeneration protocols.