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DiaGenic and GE Healthcare to Develop Blood-Based Test for Mild Cognitive Impairment, a Disorder Associated with Risk for Alzheimer's Disease

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 6:45am
The Associated Press

OSLO, Norway--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar 26, 2012-- Regulatory News: DiaGenic ASA (OSE:DIAG) today announced a research agreement to collaborate with GE Healthcare to develop a blood-based test using DiaGenic's peripheral gene expression profiling in patients with mild cognitive impairment, a disorder associated with risk for Alzheimer's Disease. The study would be used in conjunction with PET imaging to identify a blood based gene expression signature in these patients.

The PET imaging agent, 18F Flutemetamol, is currently in phase 3 development and is not yet approved by any regulatory authority.

This research effort will combine expertise in data integration, informatics, genomics and imaging. Its goal will be to find a signature that may identify subjects at risk of Alzheimer's at a very early disease stage. The collaboration is part of a broad portfolio of diagnostic solutions that GE Healthcare is developing in the Alzheimer's field.

"GE Healthcare has a global commitment to advancing clinical knowledge and providing innovations that may accelerate diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and transform patient management," said Jonathan Allis, General Manager, MI PET Segment, GE Healthcare Medical Diagnostics. "The collaboration we are announcing today is part of this effort to understand and identify Alzheimer's disease in its very early stages. Finding a signature that identifies people at risk of developing the disease, may enable physicians to make more informed decisions about patient care." Innovation Norway has through their Industrial Research and Development Contracts Program granted 2.000.000 NOK to the project.

The project will also be subject for tax deduction through SkatteFUNN, Norway. The ambition of Innovation Norway's program is to increase the international success of the project, to enhance competitiveness and market success and through collaboration give access to new expertise, a global network, strategic partners and international markets.

"For this project we aim to recruit 180 individuals with amnestic MCI, together with 30 patients with clinically diagnosed mild to moderate AD," said Dr Oskar Hansson of Lund University and Skaane University Hospital and principal investigator of the study. "Clinical assessment together with high quality blood and imaging tests for the very early stages of AD will bring tremendous value to the clinicians and drug developers." "I am delighted to enter into collaboration with GE Healthcare, which shares our high ambition in advancing AD diagnosis and treatment," said DiaGenic's CEO Dr. Erik Christensen. "Combining PET and gene expression data will be very valuable for DiaGenic and a biomarker linked to PET will open new market opportunities for DiaGenic and GE Healthcare. Early diagnosis is essential in Alzheimer's treatment and DiaGenic's technology has already proven to generate unique gene expression signatures for prodromal AD".

About Alzheimer's Disease According to the Alzheimer's Association, deaths attributed to the disease have increased by more than 46% between 2000 and 2006. Today, in the US alone, 5.3 million people have Alzheimer's disease, and the annual cost of the disease is $172 billion. It is the 6thleading cause of death, and its mortality rates are expected to rise as the baby boomer population ages. In last year's World Alzheimer Report, Alzheimer's Disease International estimated that there are 35.6 million people living with dementia worldwide in 2010, increasing to 65.7 million by 2030 and 115.4 million by 2050.

About DiaGenic ASA DiaGenic is an innovative Norwegian biotechnology company that seeks to create value for patients, partners, and investors by developing new and more patient friendly methods for early detection of diseases.

DiaGenic is currently a world leader in analyzing gene expression signatures related to disease in easily available clinical samples such as peripheral blood. This unique method is based on the principle that even when a disease is localized at a specific part of the body, secondary responses, which are also characteristic of the disease, can be measured in other parts. Significant potential in numerous diseases such as breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease has been identified. The company has been granted patents in the U.S. and Europe. DiaGenic is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. For more information visit www.diagenic.com About GE Healthcare GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost.

In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems.

Our "healthymagination" vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality around the world. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employees are committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our web site at www.gehealthcare.com.

For our latest news, please visit http://newsroom.gehealthcare.com This information was brought to you by Cision http://www.cisionwire.com CONTACT: Corporate Inquiries Erik Christensen, CEO Tel +47 95939918 Email:erik.christensen@diagenic.com or Media Inquiries Schwartz Communications Richard Hayhurst, Tel +44 (0) 7711821527 Email:rhayhurst@schwartzcomm.co.uk or GE Healthcare, Aleisia Gibson, Medical Diagnostics Tel +1 609 865 4004 Email:aleisia.gibson@ge.com KEYWORD: EUROPE NORWAY INDUSTRY KEYWORD: HEALTH BIOTECHNOLOGY GENETICS SOURCE: DiaGenic ASA Copyright Business Wire 2012 PUB: 03/26/2012 10:19 AM/DISC: 03/26/2012 10:19 AM http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120326006003/

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