September 10, 2008
TheraGenetics Announces Agreement With King’s College London to Participate in AddNeuroMed Consortium to Identify Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease
TheraGenetics Limited, a personalized medicine diagnostics company that is developing and commercializing a portfolio of pharmacogenetic diagnostic tests to guide and improve the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) disorders, announced today an agreement with King's College London for its participation in the AddNeuroMed Consortium to identify biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease that can be used to determine patient response to medications. TheraGenetics will undertake a pharmacogenetic study of Alzheimer's patients treated with cholinesterase inhibitors in the study.
"As the population ages, there remains a critical need for effective treatment of Alzheimer's disease and a better understanding of who will benefit from a particular medication," said Richard P. Kivel, CEO of TheraGenetics. "TheraGenetics' involvement with the AddNeuroMed Study underscores the company's commitment to bring personalized medicine diagnostics into clinical practice for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease so that genetic information can be used to inform prescribing decisions and physicians can better treat patients with this disabling disease."
TheraGenetics has made tremendous progress in its efforts to link genes to specific CNS disorders and use this information to develop diagnostic tests to determine patient response to treatment as well as drug side effects. The Company is focused on developing pharmacogenetic diagnostic tests for Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
"With more than nine million people living with Alzheimer's disease worldwide, the need for biomarkers is widely recognized. AddNeuroMed brings together a large and effective consortium to lead biomarker discovery in Europe. TheraGenetics' expertise in pharmacogenetic diagnostic testing in CNS disorders will be invaluable as we look to identify biomarkers for drug response and development in Alzheimer's," said Professor Simon Lovestone, King's College London.
AddNeuroMed is part of InnoMed, an EFPIA sponsored study funded by the European Union in partnership with the pharmaceutical industry and SMEs in Europe. AddNeuromed is designed to establish processes, tools, models and cohorts for Alzheimer's disease biomarker discovery and validation. Using integrated pre-clinical and clinical discovery and counter-validation the project was designed with a phased process moving from potential diagnostic markers, through progression and prediction markers to the development of drug response markers. A first-of-its-kind collaboration, AddNeuroMed brings together numerous academic and clinical groups, SME and pharma companies to generate refined and novel pre-clinical models and a large clinical cohort for biomarker studies.
The global market for Alzheimer's drugs is growing from USD 4 billion in 2006 to over USD 5 billion estimated in 2010, according to Thomson-Pharma. Cholinesterase inhibitors are a class of drugs approved to treat the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Cholinesterase inhibitors prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical in the brain that is important for learning and memory. Increasing the amount of acetylcholine appears to slow the mental decline in people with Alzheimer's. However, according to the MayoClinic, cholinesterase inhibitors don't work for everyone. As many as half the people who take these drugs show no improvement. Other people may choose to stop taking the drugs because of the side effects, which include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The most commonly prescribed cholinesterase inhibitors in the US include Aricept (donepezel), Exelon (rivastigmine) and Reminyl (galantamine).
TheraGenetics is a privately held, personalized medicine diagnostics company that is developing and commercializing a portfolio of pharmacogenetic diagnostic tests to guide and improve the treatment of CNS disorders thereby bringing the right medicine to the right patient. TheraGenetics was created in April 2006 as a spin-out of the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London. Current investors include Swarraton Partners Ltd., Tudor Ventures, IP Group PLC and Kinetique Biomedical Seed Fund. For more information please visit www.theragenetics.com.
About InnoMed and EFPIA
The InnoMed project addresses the complex issues associated with the future of biomedical research in the European Union, and tackles ways of achieving accelerated development of safe and more effective medicines, aiming to revitalize the European biopharmaceutical research environment. The project is partially funded by the European Commission, DG Research, Life Sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health.
EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations) is the coordinator of the InnoMed project. EFPIA also comprises national pharmaceutical industry associations. EFPIA's daily operations are focused on promoting pharmaceutical research and development and the best conditions for companies to bring to market medicines that improve human health and the quality of life in Europe and around the world. EFPIA is uniquely positioned to bring together stakeholders across the drug development process as the main representative of industry in Europe where EFPIA works on a daily basis with many of these stakeholders.