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UCB Canada Joins C$10.8M Epilepsy PGx Development Initiative

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – UCB Canada said today it will support a multi-partner research project funded by Genome Canada and Genome Quebec by helping to study the genomes of epilepsy patients and analyzing genes involved in their responses to medications.

Montreal-based UCB said it will use a C$200,000 (US$188,000) grant to fund its contribution to the C$10.8 million project, which launched earlier this year and created the Canadian Epilepsy Network (CENet).

The CENet project partners aim to identify genetic changes that predispose some people toward the disorder, as well as those that differentiate how certain patients respond to anti-epileptic drugs. There are currently more than 20 different anti-epileptic drugs, but they don't work for around one-third of patients, UCB said.

The partners hope to develop a pharmacogenomic tool that can diagnose different epilepsy forms more accurately, particularly those that are drug-resistant.

The project's leaders include the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre, Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center, and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

"The discoveries made over the course of this project will help develop new diagnostic assays and clinical guidelines to help neurologists and general practitioners determine which of their patients would benefit most from alternative therapies, such as surgery or a ketogenic diet," Genome Quebec President and CEO Marc LePage said in a statement.