Diagnostics Firm Acquires Rights to Schizophrenia Data

Nanogen, a San Diego-based diagnostics firm, has acquired the rights to genetic markers related to schizophrenia and responses to antipsychotic therapies — an important step in better understanding the molecular basis of the disease, as the genetic component of schizophrenia is thought to account for 65-80% of cases.

Leveraging its NanoChip technology, which allows for easy implementation of customized assays, Nanogen struck the deal with the Co-operative Research Centre for Diagnostics and Queensland University of Technology in Australia. The acquired markers will be used to create diagnostic tests for schizophrenia and related conditions; some may also help predict adverse drug reactions and guide therapeutic decision making.

Through a similar partnership initiated back in 2005, Nanogen is collaborating with Jurilab, a Finnish firm, to investigate genetic markers associated with Acute Myocardial Infarction, hypertension and type-2 diabetes.

Schizophrenia — a chronic, disabling brain disorder that occurs in about 1% of the population, and is responsible for more than 10% of all disabled people in the U.S. and 2.5% of U.S. healthcare expenditures — is believed to be caused by mutations in multiple genes. Effective diagnostics require analytic methods capable of examining multiple genes simultaneously.

Nanogen’s electronic microarray platforms provide an alternative to traditional, real-time polymerase chain reaction — a method of duplicating small amounts of DNA to assess its makeup — through multi-sample and multi-analyte reporting capabilities.

The company’s NanoChip 400 system has been CE Marked in Europe, and the NanoChip platform has been submitted for 501(k) clearance in the U.S.

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