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Prometheus Labs, Medco Research Partner on Companion Dx for IBD

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Prometheus Laboratories and Medco Research Institute today announced a deal to evaluate Prometheus' test for identifying patients who may benefit from a therapy for inflammatory bowel disease.

Prometheus' Thiopurine Metabolite (PTM) test will also be evaluated for its use in helping physician determine the proper dosage for the immunsuppresive drug 6 mercaptopurine (6MP), or azathioprine. The collaboration, the partners said, will assess whether early use of PTM testing "increases the time that patients remain on these drugs and thus reduces the rate at which patients transition to expensive alternative treatment," and whether use of the test is cost-effective.

In a statement, the two companies said that while thiopurine immunomodulators, such as 6MP or azathioprine, are effective for treating IBD when properly dosed, studies have indicated that patients are frequency under-dosed.

The project being conducted by Prometheus, which was acquired by Nestle Health Science during the spring, and MRI, a wholly owned subsidiary of Medco Health Solutions, is called Research to Evaluate the Cost Effectiveness of Interventions with Prescription of Thiopurines," or RECEIPT.

MRI will work with Medco clients to recruit participants for RECEIPT, and up to 500 Medco members using 6MP or azathioprine are expected to have PTM testing performed. Data generated from these patients will be compared to data from patients who did not receive PTM testing in order to determine the impact of PTM testing.

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.