TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - 03/22/10) - ArcticDx Inc., a molecular diagnostic company with expertise in the design, development and commercialization of validated molecular diagnostic tests, announced today that it has licensed exclusive world-wide commercial rights to a causative mutation in the HTRA1/ARMS2 gene from Regensberg University (Germany). Screening for this important genetic variation has been incorporated into a next-generation version of Macula Risk®, the Company's ground-breaking DNA test that is intended as a prognostic test for patients who have been diagnosed with early or intermediate Age-Related Macular Degeneration ("AMD").
The Regensberg ARMS2 gene sequence includes an indel that was discovered by Dr. Bernard Weber and has been published in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal, Nature Genetics.
Dr. Brent Zanke, Chairman and Chief Medical Officer of ArcticDx, said, "This genetic variation affects directly the amount of ARMS2 protein in circulation and is likely a key causative genetic lesion in AMD prognosis. It improves upon previous markers that simply correlated with the presence of this devastating eye disease."
The Company also announced that it has taken an exclusive worldwide option on another new marker on the CFI gene from Tufts Medical Centre and the Massachusetts General Hospital. The CFI variant was discovered by Dr. Johanna Seddon and has been published in the European Journal of Human Genetics. It supplements other complement factor-associated polymorphisms associated with AMD.
"Genetic testing for disease-causing genetic variations for AMD is a distinct improvement upon the current practice of measuring markers that likely don't contribute to the pathological process. This truly is the future of genetic testing and we are proud to be the first to offer this approach for the benefit of patients," Dr. Zanke concluded.
About Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is the leading cause of late onset visual impairment and legal blindness in the western world among people over the age of 50. More people have AMD than breast cancer, prostate cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease combined. Over 15 million people in North America are currently affected by AMD and experts estimate that, as the population ages, the number of those afflicted will double by the year 2020.
AMD is a progressive disease associated with aging that causes damage to the macula - the light-sensitive cells at the center of the retina at the back of the eye. The macula is responsible for our ability to see with enough detail to read, drive, watch television and perform other activities that require focused, straight-ahead vision, as well as providing information that allows us to perceive colors. Once significant vision is lost, it cannot be restored. In recent years, however, new therapies for advanced AMD have armed clinicians with the ability to preserve visual acuity in many patients that previously would have progressed to irreversible blindness.
About Macula Risk®
Macula Risk® is a non-invasive DNA test that is intended for patients who have been diagnosed with early or intermediate AMD. Macula Risk® is designed to identify which AMD patients are most at risk of severe vision loss and thereby empower their clinicians to make the best possible treatment decisions.
Like snowflakes, no two individuals are identical. Our genetic makeup drives our uniqueness. We at ArcticDx believe that medical care should reflect that uniqueness. Our two lead tests, Macula Risk® for AMD and Colo Risk® for Colorectal cancer, identify disease prognosis and predisposition as a first step toward personalized health care. For more information about our company, please visit http://www.arcticdx.com.
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