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Evogen, UCB to Develop Proteomic Epilepsy Diagnostic

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Molecular diagnostics firm Evogen and biopharmaceutical company UCB said today that they are collaborating on the development of a proteomics-based diagnostic for the identification of epileptic seizures.

The test, called EvoScore START, measures a panel of blood-based protein biomarkers to distinguish between epileptic seizures and other events. According to Evogen, the test can identify epileptic seizures with a sensitivity and specificity of more than 90 percent. Only around 15 percent of seizure-like events are, in fact, epileptic seizures, the company said, adding that the field currently lacks quick and effective diagnostic tools.

"Epilepsy is a potentially devastating disease that affects about 65 million patients worldwide, yet diagnosis is too often imprecise and difficult," Peter Crino, chair of neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a researcher on studies involved in the development of EvoScore START, said in a statement. "Our studies show that Evogen's biomarker-based proteomics blood test has the potential to provide clinicians with an accurate and accessible new tool to distinguish true epileptic seizures from the many events that mimic seizures but are in fact attributable to other causes."

Jeff Wren, head of UCB's neurology patient value unit, added that his company is enthusiastic about the potential for this test and its ability to help patients with epilepsy. "We believe the availability of more accurate and accessible diagnostics, like EvoScore START, may improve time to care for epilepsy patients and could deliver additional value across the broader healthcare system," he added.

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.