XDx Inc. has announced that it has signed an agreement with the University of Minnesota to exclusively license key intellectual property assets in the field of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).
The license, which augments XDx's strong proprietary position in this field, relates to the use of gene expression to assess the disease status of SLE patients.
The licensed intellectual property was co-invented by the research groups of Dr. Timothy Behrens, Adjunct Professor of Medicine and former Head of the Autoimmunity Program at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Emily Gillespie, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Peter K. Gregersen at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in New York.
"XDx is pleased to build upon its relationship with the University of Minnesota, which is a leader in the field of lupus gene expression research," said Pierre Cassigneul, President and CEO, XDx.
"This is a significant milestone for XDx, as it represents the company's commitment to expanding our development of innovative molecular diagnostics for immune-mediated disorders, including autoimmune diseases such as SLE," Cassigneul continued.
SLE is a systemic, chronic autoimmune disorder that affects at least 240,000 people in the United States.
"Autoimmune diseases, such as SLE, represent some of the most challenging diseases from a clinical standpoint because of the vague and often overlapping symptoms," said Dr. Gillespie. "I am excited about XDx's commitment to this important clinical area, which stands to benefit greatly from novel technological advances."
XDx, the University of Minnesota, and The Feinstein Institute have also entered into a separate agreement that provides XDx access to SLE patient samples collected through an NIH-funded collaborative program to elucidate biomarkers of autoimmune diseases.
XDx plans to advance the development of molecular diagnostics for lupus through the integration of these assets and technology along with demonstrated XDx expertise in the field of genomics for immune-mediated conditions.
"The innovative approach that XDx used to develop AlloMap(R) molecular expression testing for the management of cardiac transplant patients can be applied in the development of a diagnostic test for SLE," said Dr. Ralph Snyderman, Chancellor Emeritus and James B. Duke Professor of Medicine, Duke University, and a member of the XDx board of directors.
Dr. Snyderman further said, "A major problem in the treatment of SLE is the sporadic and unpredictable nature of the disease, often leading to treatment after damage has occurred. New technologies that enable physicians to assess disease severity, anticipate flares and to make more informed therapeutic decisions would be of tremendous value."