SAN DIEGO and FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., Aug. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Prometheus Laboratories Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical and diagnostics company that is part of Nestle Health Science, and the Medco Research Institute®, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS), today announced that they have entered into a collaboration to evaluate the use of Prometheus' Thiopurine Metabolite (PTM) testing for optimizing dosing of 6 mercaptopurine (6MP) or azathioprine (Aza) in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Optimization of dosing could lead to improved drug response and delay progression to more aggressive therapy.
Thiopurine immunomodulators, such as 6MP or its pro-drug Aza, are effective medical treatments for IBD when appropriately dosed. However, studies have shown that patients are frequently under dosed which can decrease the efficacy of these drugs. Through PTM testing, doctors may be able to select those patients who would benefit from dose adjustments and those that may have a risk of toxicity. Patients who are not responding due to lack of compliance could also be identified. This collaboration will evaluate whether PTM testing, used early after the decision is made to prescribe thiopurines, increases the time that patients remain on these drugs and thus reduces the rate at which patients transition to expensive alternative treatments.
"We believe that this collaboration provides an opportunity to show how our Prometheus Thiopurine Metabolite test can be used to optimize immunomodulator therapy for IBD patients," said Joseph Limber, Prometheus's Chief Executive Officer. "The results of this pilot project could help provide evidence supporting the clinical value and cost effectiveness of the routine use of this testing in patients tak