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InformedDNA Partners With Gene Therapy Firm Passage Bio on Dementia Genetic Testing

NEW YORK — Gene therapy developer Passage Bio has partnered with InformedDNA on a genetic testing program designed to identify frontotemporal dementia patients eligible for enrollment in clinical studies of treatments for the condition, the companies said on Monday.

FTD is a form of early-onset dementia, with approximately 30 percent of cases involving mutations in the granulin, C9orf72, or MAPT genes. Passage Bio is preparing to begin Phase I/II testing of an FTD gene therapy targeting granulin.

Under the terms of their alliance, InformedDNA will provide genetic testing, as well as initial and post-test counseling, to adults diagnosed with FTD, with Passage Bio assuming the cost of the program. Patients who test positive for the FTD-linked mutations will also be given information about potential treatment and available clinical trial options.

Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"By partnering with InformedDNA, we are able to offer patients with FTD an option to potentially identify whether there is an inherited genetic mutation causing their disease," Bruce Goldsmith, Passage Bio's president and CEO, said in a statement. "We believe this collaboration can serve as a valuable resource for the FTD community, allowing for earlier treatment or participation in clinical trials aimed at finding innovative treatment options."

In November, Philadelphia-based Passage Bio began working with Invitae to identify individuals with GM1 gangliosidosis, a monogenic recessive lysosomal storage disease for which it is developing a treatment. Last month, St. Petersburg, Florida-based InformedDNA formed a cancer-focused genetic counseling alliance with Foundation Medicine.

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