The development of a diagnostic product for Parkinson’s disease is to be financed by a leading US research foundation and performed in co-operation with Harvard Medical School.
The board of DiaGenic has selected Parkinson’s disease to become the third product in the portfolio of diagnostic tests based on gene expression in peripheral blood. Grants from the Michael J. Fox Foundation will secure the initial funding of the project. The study will be carried out in co-operation with Dr Clemens R Scherzer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where the blood samples for the study have already been collected.
The grants from the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the cooperation with Dr. Scherzer of Harvard Medical School have prompted the decision to select Parkinson’s as DiaGenic’s third disease area, following breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. The first and promising research results on Parkinson’s were presented on 5 May 2006 at the IPA-meeting in Portugal. These results in combination with DiaGenic product development activities within Alzheimer’s disease have been instrumental in securing US funding and scientific collaboration. Dr Scherzer and his team have already collected the blood samples, allowing the analytical study to start immediately. This secures a faster development of the prototype and the following diagnostic product.
“We are excited to collaborate with DiaGenic, and the MJ Fox Foundation to continue to optimize early detection of Parkinson’s disease. We have recently published an extensive gene expression study on Parkinson’s using blood as the clinical sample and are optimistic that the use of peripheral gene expression will prove valuable for the early detection of neurological disorders.” states Dr Clemens R. Scherzer
DiaGenic CEO Erik Christensen commented:”We are grateful for the funding provided by the Michael J. Fox Foundation and delighted to collaborate with Dr Scherzer and his team. This represents additional international recognition of our concept for diagnosis of PD and neurodegenerative disorders. Parkinson’s will now form the third disease in our portfolio, which is a natural choice considering the US funding and scientific co-operation. The choice also illustrates that our diagnostic concept based on blood samples is particularly well suited for neurodegenerative diseases, where collecting samples from the site of the disease is impossible. Since DiaGenic already has a proven method that can differentiate between Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, the two products will support each other – not only in diagnostic use but also within the area of drug development.”