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Amarantus Options Blood-based Alzheimer's Biomarkers from Georgetown

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Amarantus announced today it has signed an option agreement with Georgetown University that could eventually give the firm an exclusive license to blood-based biomarkers related to Alzheimer's disease.

The one-year option covers patents for six biomarkers for memory loss that are jointly owned by Georgetown and the University of Rochester. Under the terms of the agreement, Amarantus will be required to provide Georgetown with development and commercialization plans for the biomarkers as well share information related to the firm's diagnostic assets, the CLIA validation of the biomarkers, and the recruitment of a senior executive to lead Amarantus's diagnostics division.

"The technologies are based on metabolic, genetic, and exosomal biomarkers," Amarantus CEO Gerald Commissiong said in a statement. "We believe these may hold additional potential for identifying distinguishing factors in dementia and Alzheimer's disease that will be complementary" to the company's cell cycle dysregulation platform, he added. 

During the option period, Amarantus will evaluate the biomarkers internally. The biomarkers were developed in the course of research performed by Howard Federoff, Massimo Fiandaca, Amrita Cheema, Yuriy Gusev, and Xiaogang Zhong at Georgetown University and Mark Mapstone at the University of Rochester.

The biomarkers could one day help identify large numbers of individuals at-risk for Alzheimer's disease to participate in clinical trials of therapeutic agents that might delay or prevent the onset of the disease, Federoff said.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

On Tuesday, Amarantus acquired Swiss diagnostics firm DioGenix, which specializes in testing for neurodegenerative diseases such as MS.

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