Bristol-Myers Squibb and Meso Scale Discovery to develop diagnostic assays for Alzheimer’s disease

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PRINCETON, N.J.—Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMS) and MesoScale Discovery announced last month an agreement to develop diagnostic assaysthat will measure cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers for use in Alzheimer's diseaseresearch. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, nor would either companycomment on what led the two to partner or how the collaboration will proceed.
The terms of the agreement did stipulate that the companieswill develop these assays based on the Meso Scale MULTI-ARRAY technologyplatform. Meso Scale will commercialize the assays for Alzheimer's diseaseresearch and drug development, and plans to release the assays in the secondquarter of 2012. The assays are for A-beta 42 and total Tau and will measurepeptide/protein levels.
"The collaboration with Meso Scale Discovery demonstratesBristol-Myers Squibb's commitment to advancing the science of Alzheimer'sdisease research," said Jane Tiller, vice president of global clinical researchat BMS, in a press release announcing the deal. "These assays could provide theAlzheimer's disease research community with an important tool to help advanceunderstanding of this complex and devastating disease and may lead to advancesin the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease."
"This partnership fits perfectly into our mission ofdeveloping novel biomarkers tests for use in research and diagnostics," addedJacob Wohlstadter, president and CEO of Meso Scale. "Bristol-Myers Squibb is aleader in the field of Alzheimer's disease research and brings a clinicaldevelopment perspective that pairs well with our experience in developinghigh-quality assays."
Meso Scale's MULTI-ARRAY multiplexed immunoassay platformfor the quantitation of proteins in biological samples enables the detection ofbiomarkers in single and multiplex formats using electrochemilluminescencedetection. MULTI-ARRAY plate formats include 96- and 384-well plates.Dimensions and layout of all plates conform to SBS standards forstraightforward integration with existing automation systems. The technique hasbeen lauded in peer-reviewed journals for its sensitivity, interlaboratoryreproducibility and advantages over Western blotting.

Meso Scale provides more than 400 single and multiplex assay kits and assaycustomization capabilities, which "enable scientists to make accurate and precisedeterminations of cytokines, phosphoproteins and other biomarkers in differentmatrices," the company claims. Although "personalized medicine companies" arecounted among Meso Scale's customers, the company declined to comment on anynew potential for its MULTI-ARRAY platform that may eventuate from the SupremeCourt's decision in Mayo vs. Prometheus.
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disease thatimpairs memory, interferes with thinking and ultimately destroys the ability ofan individual to carry out simple tasks. The disease is a continuum, withdamage to the brain starting long before the onset of dementia. Alzheimer'saffects 24 million people worldwide and the prevalence is projected tosignificantly increase over the coming decades due to the aging population.While there are medicines available to help treat the symptoms of Alzheimer'sdisease, there remains a significant unmet medical need for therapies that slowor prevent the progression of the underlying disease.
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