Ridge Diagnostics, Inc. and Ameritox Ltd. Enter Into Licensing Agreement for Depression Biomarker Blood Test
News Apr 10, 2012
Assay analyzing multiple biomarkers could be valuable aid to diagnosis and treatment monitoring.
Ridge Diagnostics(TM), Inc. announced today it has entered into an exclusive agreement with Ameritox(SM), Ltd. for the license rights to its proprietary developmental blood test MDDScore(TM), a multiple biomarker analysis for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) for primary care and pain physicians. As part of the agreement, Ameritox has agreed to make an undisclosed equity investment in Ridge and commit to a next-stage clinical development program.
Antidepressant drugs are among the most frequently prescribed medications in the U.S. today, where depression impacts some 19 million adults each year. A biological test for depression may aid physicians in the differential diagnosis of MDD, assist in the selection of proper patient treatment and improve healthcare cost management.
“Ameritox investment in Ridge will likely accelerate the MDDScore test development and advance access to millions of patients already under the care of primary-care and pain-management physicians,” said Lonna J. Williams, CEO of Ridge Diagnostics. “Ameritox longstanding investments in diagnostic science, and now in the Ridge technology, validate the importance of the MDDScore and demonstrate their commitment to improving patient well-being.”
The MDDScore test developed by Ridge Diagnostics measures ten biomarker levels associated with factors such as inflammation, development and maintenance of neurons and interaction between brain structures involved with stress response and other key biological functions. Measurements are analyzed to produce an MDDScore which may help physicians determine whether a patient has major depression.
A recent peer-reviewed study with 70 adults who had been diagnosed with major depression evaluated in a pilot and replication study using the MDDScore appears in Molecular Psychiatry (February 2012) and indicates the test diagnosed major depression with a high degree of accuracy within the study population. The study is co-authored by investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA; Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN; Cambridge Health Alliance, Boston, MA, and Elizabeth Medical Center, Brighton, MA.
“Biomarkers are an important emerging scientific tool to better understanding illness, and may enable health professionals to improve the accuracy of diagnosis and help match the right treatment to the right patient,” said Ancelmo Lopes, CEO, Ameritox Ltd. “Personalizing care offers the best use for precious healthcare resources. We are committed to providing physicians with tools to support their care decisions. We are excited to launch clinical trials to evaluate the utility of MDDScore in primary care and pain medicine settings."