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Variagenics Receives Third ApoE Patent

NEW YORK, July 3 – Variagenics was issued a patent for a methodology that links the gene ApoE to a patient’s prognosis with a neurological disorder and the efficacy of various treatments, the company announced Tuesday. 

The patent is the company’s third related to ApoE, the gene that encodes apolipoprotein E, a protein involved in neurological and cardiovascular pathways. Variagenics, based in Cambridge, Mass., expects short-term revenues from this latest patent in the form of collaborative funding from pharmaceutical companies to develop proprietary assays with ApoE for particular drugs, Taylor Crouch, CEO of Variagenics, told GenomeWeb. 

This latest patent will likely solidify Variagenics’s position in the area of neurological disorders, analyst Robert Olan of J.P. Morgan told GenomeWeb, although the business strategy is not new for Variagenics since the company has made it publicly known that it is accumulating intellectual property in this area, Olan added.

Variagenics’s methodology could interest a pharmaceutical company if it believed the information gained from the diagnostic test could benefit the company, by either promoting its products or revealing negative information about its competitors’ products, said Olan. He speculated that some pharmaceutical companies that may be interested in partnering with Variagenics around this technology included Pfizer, J&J, and Elan.

Olan sees pharmacogenomics as being in the early stages of development, and, in terms of revenues, he predicts that Variagenics will most likely have to wait until new and better drugs for neurological disorders appear. “I don’t think that [the impact of this announcement] will be very significant over the next few years,” he said.

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