A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Abbott (Abbott Park, Illinois) said that it has entered into a licensing agreement with The Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland) for the development of an automated in vitro diagnostic test to detect myeloperoxidase (MPO), an enzyme found in white blood cells. Detecting elevated, circulating levels of MPO may be useful in determining a person's risk for adverse cardiac events such as a heart attack.

"The Cleveland Clinic's expertise and research in heart disease is well-known, and we are pleased to enter into this agreement," said William Brown, PhD, vice president, diagnostic assays and systems development at Abbott. "Heart disease is a major cause of death worldwide, and Abbott is committed to developing new cardiac diagnostic tests that could improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cardiovascular diseases."

Research conducted at The Cleveland Clinic and published in the Oct. 23, 2003, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine linked elevated MPO levels with the risk of heart attack. More than 600 patients presenting with chest pain in the emergency department were evaluated. MPO was identified as a strong predictor for major adverse cardiac events over the following 30-day to six-month period.

The authors of the study concluded that MPO's link to inflammation in coronary arteries from unstable plaque could make it a potential biomarker useful for risk stratification in patients presenting with chest pain.

"Today, cardiac diagnostic tests already influence how treatment recommendations are made," said Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, head of the section of preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at The Cleveland Clinic. "The potential of an MPO test to help identify patients at risk for a major cardiac event in the near term could prove to be another advance in patient care."

Under the terms of the agreement, Abbott obtains non-exclusive rights to The Cleveland Clinic's existing technologies relating to MPO as a risk indicator for cardiovascular disease. Abbott also maintains worldwide rights to commercialize products using this technology. PrognostiX, an affiliated company of The Cleveland Clinic, will provide as-needed support during the development process. Other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Abbott currently markets several cardiac tests for its automated diagnostic analyzers. Its Architect System offers an acute cardiac panel with tests for troponin-I, creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) and myoglobin. The company's AxSYM automated immunoassay instrument system also provides a comprehensive cardiac menu with tests for B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), troponin-I, CK-MB and myoglobin.

In another agreement, PrecisionMed (San Diego) and Phenomenome Discoveries (Saskatoon, Alberta) are undertaking a collaboration to develop noninvasive diagnostics for Alzheimer's disease and bipolar disorder using PrecisionMed's clinical samples and information, and Phenomenome's diagnostics discovery and testing platform. Terms were not disclosed.

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