Industry News: GE Healthcare and DiaGenic Announce Alzheimers Collaboration

28 Mar 2012

DiaGenic has announced that it is to enter into a research agreement with GE Healthcare to develop a blood-based test using DiaGenic’s peripheral gene expression profiling in patients with mild cognitive impairment, a disorder associated with risk for Alzheimer’s Disease.

The research collaboration will combine expertise in data integration, informatics, genomics and imaging. Its goal will be to find a signature that may identify subjects at risk of developing Alzheimer’s at a very early disease stage. The study would be used in conjunction with PET imaging to identify a blood based gene expression signature in these patients. The PET imaging agent, Flutemetamol, is currently in phase 3 development and has not yet been approved by any regulatory authority.

This research agreement is part of a broad portfolio of diagnostic solutions that GE Healthcare is developing in the Alzheimer’s field.

“GE Healthcare has a global commitment to advancing clinical knowledge and providing innovations that may accelerate diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and transform patient management,” said Jonathan Allis, General Manager, MI PET Segment, GE Healthcare Medical Diagnostics. “The collaboration we are announcing today is part of this effort to understand and identify Alzheimer’s disease in its very early stages. Finding a signature that identifies people at risk of developing the disease, may enable physicians to make more informed decisions about patient care.”

Innovation Norway has through their Industrial Research and Development Contracts Program granted 2.000.000 NOK to the project. The project will also be subject for tax deduction through SkatteFUNN, Norway. The ambition of Innovation Norway’s program is to increase the international success of the project, to enhance competitiveness and market success and through collaboration give access to new expertise, a global network, strategic partners and international markets.

“For this project we aim to recruit 180 individuals with amnestic MCI, together with 30 patients with clinically diagnosed mild to moderate AD,” said Dr Oskar Hansson of Lund University and Skåne University Hospital and principal investigator of the study. ”Clinical assessment together with high quality blood and imaging tests for the very early stages of AD will bring tremendous value to the clinicians and drug developers.”

“I am delighted to enter into collaboration with GE Healthcare, which shares our high ambition in advancing AD diagnosis and treatment,” said DiaGenic’s CEO Dr. Erik Christensen. “Combining PET and gene expression data will be very valuable for DiaGenic and a biomarker linked to PET will open new market opportunities for DiaGenic and GE Healthcare. Early diagnosis is essential in Alzheimer’s treatment and DiaGenic’s technology has already proven to generate unique gene expression signatures for prodromal AD”.