TORONTO, Canada, March 20, 2013 /CNW/ — Amorfix Life Sciences announced today that it has furthered the development of the first effective blood test to diagnose amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by cloning ultra-high affinity antibodies that detect a misfolded version of the enzyme superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), which has been implicated in the development of the disease.
“The generation of these high quality antibodies significantly advances the development of a highly sensitive and simple blood test to diagnose ALS by measuring misfolded SOD1 in the plasma of patients” said Amorfix CSO, Co-founder and Chairman of the Board Dr. Neil Cashman. “We have made great progress in a relatively short period of time and continue to push towards getting this much needed diagnostic test in the clinic and on the market as quickly as possible.”
These ultra-high affinity antibodies will also be instrumental in the development of a treatment for ALS in both our therapeutic and vaccine initiatives. The Amorfix therapeutic antibody program, through the collaboration with Biogen-Idec, continues to advance through preclinical animal models. In addition, the Company has a strategic partnership with Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise Inc. (PREVENT) to develop ALS therapeutic vaccines against misfolded SOD1
“We continue to see excellent progress and exciting results from all of our ALS programs,” said Dr. Robert Gundel, Amorfix President and CEO. “Our business strategy is to harness major scientific discoveries with our internal scientific expertise and proprietary technology and form strategic partnerships and alliances with other companies to turn these discoveries into products as quickly as possible.” The ALS program is a great representation of the Company’s approach to disease management with a product to diagnose the disease early-on and strategic partnerships to develop therapeutic antibodies and vaccines for treatment.”
ALS is a disease that is difficult to diagnose and treat. At the present time, clinicians must rely on a combination of clinical findings and indirect testing to confirm a diagnosis of ALS, as there is no diagnostic test or biomarker at their disposal. The average survival time after diagnosis is 3 to 5 years which indicates that there are no effective treatments available for patients once diagnosed with ALS. The Company believes that the availability of a reliable blood test would represent an important advancement in the management of this devastating disease, allowing clinicians to diagnose the disease earlier and provide better treatment. The projected market for such a diagnostic test is approximately $250M. In addition, the Company’s therapeutic and vaccine programs represent potential blockbuster products that could improve patient survival by treating existing disease or slowing or preventing the onset of disease.
ALS is a common neuromuscular disease, affecting an estimated 120,000 people of all races and ethnic backgrounds worldwide. According to the ALS Association, more than 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS annually and an estimated 30,000 Americans have ALS at any given time.
Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd. (TSX:AMF) is an early-stage product development company developing therapeutic antibodies and diagnostics targeting misfolded protein diseases. Amorfix utilizes its computational discovery platform, ProMIS™, to predict novel Disease Specific Epitopes (DSEs) on the molecular surface of misfolded proteins. Using this technology, Amorfix is developing novel antibody therapeutics and companion diagnostics for cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In addition, Amorfix has developed two proprietary technologies to specifically identify very low levels of misfolded proteins in a biological sample: Epitope Protection™ and AMFIA™, an ultra-sensitive dual-bead immunoassay. Use of these technologies has generated a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) screening test for both Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and an ultrasensitive method for detecting the hallmark of AD, aggregated beta-Amyloid, in brain tissue, CSF and blood from animal models of AD. For more information about Amorfix, visit www.amorfix.com.
The TSX has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. This information release may contain certain forward-looking information. Such information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those implied by statements herein, and therefore these statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results. All forward-looking statements are based on the Company’s current beliefs as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to it as well as other factors. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Due to risks and uncertainties, including the risks and uncertainties identified by the Company in its public securities filings, actual events may differ materially from current expectations. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless required by law.
ProMIS™, Epitope Protection™ and AMFIA™ are trademarks of Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd.
SOURCE: Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd.
For further information:
Dr. Robert Gundel
President and Chief Executive Officer
Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd.
Tel: (416) 847-6957
Fax: (416) 847-6899
Chief Financial Officer
Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd.
Tel: (416) 644-7358
Fax: (416) 847-6899