Lineagen and Fast Forward, a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, have formed an alliance to fund the clinical development and validation of a blood-based assay for multiple sclerosis (MS). The goal of the program is to develop a test that can aid clinicians in diagnosing MS, distinguishing it from other neurological disorders, and providing the prognostic information needed to help guide treatment decisions and response to therapies.
Under the terms of the sponsored research agreement, Fast Forward is committing $622,000 to establish and validate a broad array of biomarkers for MS, including genes associated with predisposition to the disease and blood based markers that have diagnostic and prognostic potential. The funding will support an ongoing clinical program that is being conducted under the teams of John W. Rose, M.D., professor of neurology at the University of Utah and Mark Leppert, Ph.D., professor of human genetics at the University of Utah.
Dr. Rose commented, "One of the most critical challenges is to find answers to key questions, such as how do we identify those patients who are more likely to experience disease progression and how do we determine patients' potential responsiveness to therapy? With this important funding provided by Fast Forward, we will rapidly gain key insights that we believe can have a profound impact on the lives of people living with MS."
Michael S. Paul, Ph.D., Lineagen's president and chief executive officer, stated, "It is a great opportunity for Lineagen to collaborate with Fast Forward and the National MS Society. This collaboration will enhance the development and validation of our proprietary gene and biomarker-based assay in MS. The funding from Fast Forward will accelerate this clinical program, allowing the collaborative team to evaluate and affirm a broad number of biomarkers simultaneously, with the collective goal of delivering our best testing services to physicians and patients."