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Augurex Announces Exclusive License Agreement with Quest Diagnostics for the Development of Arthritis Biomarker 14-3-3 as a Testing Service in the U.S.

October 9, 2012

VANCOUVER, Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Augurex Life Sciences Corp. today
announced that it has formed an exclusive license agreement with Quest
Diagnostics, for the development of a clinical laboratory-developed
testing service for the U.S. market, based on Augurex’s rheumatoid
arthritis (RA) 14-3-3h biomarker. Quest Diagnostics is the world’s
leading diagnostic testing company, and serves approximately half of
the physicians and hospitals in the United States. Quest Diagnostics
expects to launch the service in 2013. Additional terms were not
disclosed.

“Augurex’s business model is to advance early-stage biomarkers by
demonstrating their clinical utility and collaborating with companies,
such as Quest Diagnostics, with the expertise and infrastructure to
develop their potential as clinically useful tests broadly accessible
by clinicians and patients,” says Norma Biln, Chief Executive Officer
of Augurex.

In addition to the agreement with Quest Diagnostics for the U.S. market,
Augurex intends to form regional 14-3-3h agreements with commercial
laboratories outside the United States, including in the European
Union, Asia and Canada.

Early diagnosis and treatment of RA is associated with more favourable
outcomes than late-stage diagnosis. The 14-3-3h marker is a protein
that is elevated in the blood of patients with RA that is relatively
absent in healthy people and those with other types of auto-immune
conditions. 14-3-3h appears to be even more elevated in patients with
RA or Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) who have joint damage. Data presented
over the past two years at international conferences such as the
American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Scientific Meeting and
European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Conference describe the
clinical usefulness of assessing 14-3-3h blood levels with currently
available markers, such as RF and anti-CCP for earlier RA diagnosis,
and with CRP, to profile parameters such as joint damage and response
to therapy in RA and PsA.

“The real focus in RA these days is to ensure that patients are
identified, ideally early in the course of disease, so that they can
get on appropriate treatments that may significantly improve their
short and long-term outcome.  New data suggests that blood testing for
14-3-3h could assist in identifying patients whose diagnosis may have
otherwise been delayed,” says Dr. Walter Maksymowych, co-inventor of
14-3-3h, the principal investigator of several 14-3-3h studies and
Medical Research Professor of Medicine and Rheumatologist at the
University of Alberta, Canada.

Augurex has multiple research programs investigating related forms and
functions of 14-3-3h which may collectively constitute a biomarker
panel to further inform RA and other inflammatory conditions. In
addition to its utility as a blood test, data has been presented that
describes the 14-3-3h protein as a contributor to the disease and that
blocking it with drugs may serve as a novel therapeutic approach to
treating patients with RA.

“14-3-3h creates the exciting possibility of personalized medicine in
RA, whereby you block the protein with drugs and measure the success of
your intervention by monitoring the levels of the 14-3-3h through a
blood test,” says Dr. Mark Genovese, Professor of Medicine, Immunology
and Rheumatology at Stanford University Medical School.

SOURCE Augurex Life Sciences Corp.


Source: PR Newswire