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AmberGen, Mass General License Biomarkers to Inova Diagnostics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – AmberGen today announced it and Massachusetts General Hospital have licensed two autoantigen biomarkers for primary biliary cirrhosis to Inova Diagnostics, which will add them to its existing tests for the disease.

The biomarkers were discovered by AmberGen and Mass General using AmberGen's proprietary proteomic biomarker discovery pipeline. The discovery work was funded by an Advanced Technology Small Business Innovation Research grant to the Watertown, Mass.-based firm from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

Inova clinically validated the biomarkers and plans to add them to its FDA-cleared PBC tests.

PBC is an autoimmune disease in which the liver's bile ducts are destroyed. Diagnosis of the disease can be challenging, but if done so early, the patient can be treated with ursodeoxycholic acid, which is both safe and cheap, Donald Bloch, a specialist in hematology/oncology at Mass General, said.

Gary Norman, director of R&D at Inova, added that the addition of the two biomarkers could increase the overall accuracy of diagnosis "and may ultimately add to the understanding of the etiology of the disease."

AmberGen is a biomarker discovery and clinical diagnostics company, whose approach combines proteomics, genomics, and bioinformatics. Inova, based in San Diego, develops in vitro diagnostic tests for autoimmune diseases. It was acquired by the Werfen Group in 2008.