The Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of New York (MSRCNY) and BG Medicine announced that the two organizations have entered into an agreement to collaborate on research in the area of multiple sclerosis.
Initial projects under the agreement are expected to be the discovery of biomarkers of MS disease activity and biomarkers of efficacy and safety for a currently marketed MS drug treatment.
MS is the most common neurological disease in the world in people of young age, affecting approximately 350,000 people in the US alone. The MSRCNY and BG Medicine collaboration will focus on the discovery and development of blood tests that can be used in routine management of MS patients.
The wide availability of such tests could have a profound impact on the management of MS by increasing the ability of physicians to measure their patient’s level of disease activity and improve pharmaceutical treatment.
“Two hallmarks of MS are its heterogeneity – how its manifestations differ between patients - and its variability - how it can change over time through remissions and exacerbations,” said Saud A. Sadiq, M.D., director of MSRCNY and of the International Multiple Sclerosis Management Practice (IMSMP), a combined research and clinical center located in midtown Manhattan. “If we can supplement our clinical observations with blood tests that tell us about the level of disease activity or drug effectiveness or safety, we will advance our management of this common serious condition beyond anything imaginable at this time.”
Biomarkers of disease activity can also play an important role in advancing drug discovery and development by allowing researchers to perform much smaller, shorter, and lower-cost studies in comparison to studies that rely on conventional clinical observations. Additionally, MS-related biomarkers may help to better elucidate the mechanisms involved in MS susceptibility and progression.
“We are at the dawn of a new era in medicine in which we can use biomarkers to understand and measure diseases early and thus treat the actual disease process,” said Pieter Muntendam, MD, President and CEO of BG Medicine. “This partnership with MSRCNY will leverage their high level of scientific expertise in MS and their access to patients to facilitate the discovery and development of MS biomarkers for the improved clinical management of the disease.”
Under the terms of the agreement between the parties, MSRCNY will provide project expertise, certain analytical capabilities, and clinical patient samples for use by BG Medicine for the discovery, development, validation, and subsequent commercialization of clinical biomarkers in exchange for certain payments from BG Medicine.