OKLAHOMA CITY—Progentec Diagnostics, Inc., a leader in the development of technological innovations in the field of diagnostics, has announced that the company has been awarded a Fast-Track Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
The grant funds will be released in two installments, starting with a Phase 1 award of $225,000. In total, the grant has the potential to provide $1.7 million in non-dilutive financial resources.
The grant supports clinical research to evaluate the accuracy and predictive power of blood biomarker-based laboratory tests for the measurement of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) disease activity. Current measures of disease activity, including the SLE disease activity index 2000 (SLEDAI-2K), require clinician assessment and offer no forecasting potential.
“We anticipate that the tests in development by Progentec will support clinicians in selecting optimal treatment plans, adjusting medication dosing, and measuring outcomes for lupus patients,” said Mohan Purushothaman, Ph.D., Progentec’s CEO.
The NIAID, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), awarded Progentec the grant as part of its mission to “conduct and support basic and applied research to better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases.”
The lead investigators for this research are Melissa Munroe, M.D., Ph.D. and Eldon Jupe, Ph.D., of Progentec.
“Progentec has worked to identify relevant lupus biomarkers and methods of analysis,” added Jupe. “This grant offers us an opportunity to validate the prognostic value of these tests.”
Progentec has been strengthening its own research into lupus in several ways. As previously reported by DDNews, Progentec acquired LupusCorner, a leading patient-empowerment platform for people with SLE and lupus nephritis, in late 2018. By integrating LupusCorner’s technology platform and data insights, the company has positioned itself to develop a first-in-class lupus-management platform. The founders of LupusCorner, Arif Sorathia and Brett Adelman, joined Progentec to help lead technology, outreach and growth initiatives.
Progentec’s technologies include biomarker based tests to diagnose disease before symptoms begin to show, as well as tests to monitor and predict lupus disease activity levels.
“The addition of LupusCorner and its users furthers our vision of creating a comprehensive disease-management platform and ensures that the patient voice will be a valued part of our process,” noted Purushothaman in a press release. “We look forward to advancing the platform and fulfilling the unmet need for lupus diagnostics and management tools.”
LupusCorner was founded in 2016 with the mission of transforming the lupus patient experience by creating powerful technologies that are easy to use. Around 45,000 people with lupus now interact with the LupusCorner platform every month.