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Autism Speaks Partner Funds Autism Biomarker Effort with Seaside Therapeutics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Autism Speaks said today that its nonprofit affiliate Delivering Scientific Innovation for Autism (DELSIA) will provide $2 million for a biomarker discovery project with Seaside Therapeutics, a drug developer that plans to market a new personalized treatment.

DELSIA will direct the funding from Autism Speaks into a partnership with Seaside that seeks to identify genetic and protein biomarkers that could be used to identify autism spectrum disorder patients who are most likely to benefit from treatment with Seaside's drug arbaclofen. The drug is an oral selective gamma-amino butyric acid type B receptor agonist and is meant to improve social and communication functions in autism and Fragile X syndrome patients.

"Arbaclofen is the most advanced program in the autism clinical pipeline, and if successful, could deliver the first medical therapy for a core symptom of autism," DELSIA President and VP of Translational Research at Autism Speaks Robert Ring said in a statement.

"Recent scientific discoveries have identified several potential treatments for the underlying causes of autism spectrum disorders. However, the broad heterogeneity of ASD suggests that optimal treatment will need to be personalized," Seaside Therapeutics CEO Randy Carpenter said in a statement. "Identification of biomarkers would enable development of targeted treatments and is a first step toward realizing personalized medicine for individuals with ASD."

Autism Speaks launched DELSIA in October 2012 to work with for-profit partners to fund development of products to meet the needs of the autism community.

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