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Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, Celgene Form Biomarker Consortium

NEW YORK — The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) said on Wednesday that it has partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb subsidiary Celgene to launch a research consortium to identify biomarkers of pulmonary fibrosis that can guide therapy.

The foundation noted that the biomarkers would be directed at the development of treatments for patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

The Prognostic Lung Fibrosis Consortium, or PROLIFIC, aims to develop assays that can detect peripheral blood protein biomarkers of pulmonary fibrosis that can be used as early indicators of a treatment's activity. Other PROLIFIC members include Biogen, Genentech, Lung Therapeutics, OptiKira, Pliant Therapeutics, and Respivant Sciences.

According to PFF, consortium members have identified 12 biomarkers based on data around their prognostic utility for pulmonary fibrosis and their potential predictive utility as indicators of therapeutic efficacy.

The biomarkers include CYFRA 21-1, SP-D, CA-19-9, and KL-6, which are associated with epithelial damage; MMP-7, tenascin-C, and periostin, which are markers of fibrosis; the inflammatory markers CCL18, CXCL13, slCAM 1; and PAI-1, which is linked to thrombosis.

A multiplex biomarker assay is being developed by Myriad RBM, PFF said.

Consortium members will screen blood samples from the PFF Patient Registry and Biorepository to identify and validate blood protein biomarkers. They will also examine baseline data related to symptoms; demographics and social traits; and data showing variation over time to characterize proteins affected by the disease.

PFF said the consortium intends to partner with health authorities worldwide to find biomarkers that can predict which IPF patients would benefit most from a particular treatment, as well as invite other groups to join PROLIFIC.

"Through the PROLIFIC consortium, we are collaborating with industry leaders to advance the application of prognostic blood biomarkers to clinical trials in IPF and other interstitial lung diseases to help put translational discoveries into clinical practice," Saurabh Saha, senior vice president of translational medicine at Bristol-Myers Squibb, said in a statement.