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Genomenon Partners With Rare-Disease Charity on Variant Identification

NEW YORK – Genomenon said Tuesday that it has partnered with a charity to identify variants that could help unravel the mystery of a rare pediatric disease. The firm hopes that the collaboration will lead to the development of treatments for beta-propeller protein-associated neurodegeneration, or BPAN, a progressive disease that causes severe developmental delays due to abnormal iron deposits in the brain.

Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Genomenon said that its artificial intelligence technology has already helped researchers supported by BPAN nonprofit Don't Forget Morgan to create a "genomic landscape" of 129 variants of WDR45, a gene linked to the condition.

"The comprehensive genomic landscape of this genetically driven disease enables researchers to more quickly identify the molecular drivers of the disease and validate drug targets," Genomenon CEO Mike Klein said in a statement. "We hope to take years off the front end of the drug discovery process with the use of this genetic knowledge and shorten the time to develop a treatment that can save these children's lives."

Don't Forget Morgan is a Michigan-based organization cofounded in 2020 by Kelly Kozole, a senior VP of the Detroit Lions football team, and Christina Ftikas, a senior global accounts director at Xerox, both of whom have children with BPAN.