12/11/2012 8:41:26 AM
A blood test under development that could indicate whether a toddler has an elevated risk of developing autism spectrum disorder could lead to earlier intervention, which could also increase the likelihood of improving their lives. SynapDX licensed the test from Boston Children’s Hospital last year. It has raised $6 million from North Bridge Venture Partners and General Catalyst Partners towards pivotal studies. Beginning next year, a study of 600 children will be used to validate performance characteristics in children at risk for ASD. Boston Children’s Hospital has already begun recruiting. In an interview with MedCity News Stan Lapidus, SynapDX CEO, said the test would be administered as early as 36 months by pediatricians compared with the current average age of 4.5 years old. He emphasized that it’s not a broad screening tool, and would be used for children exhibiting symptoms such as avoiding eye contact and are non verbal. “I think we’re at the beginning of a real revolution in the diagnosis of neurological disorders made with an RNA expression analysis that will really help diagnose neuropsychiatric disorders sooner. An early diagnosis makes it more likely that treatment will lead to better outcomes.” The goal of the suburban Boston CLIA laboratory’s diagnostic will be to distinguish patients with ASD from patients with other developmental disorders using gene expression. Among other companies with autism diagnostics are Lineagen, a Utah-based company that recently formed a partnership with the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, and French company IntegraGen.
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