Q BioMed has announced an exclusive option agreement with Washington University in St. Louis. Under the agreement granting the exclusive right to license the technology, Q BioMed will evaluate the feasibility and usability of GDF-15, a novel biomarker for monitoring glaucoma, as a companion diagnostic to the MAN-01 small molecule currently being optimized for the topical treatment of glaucoma.
"The ophthalmology in general and glaucoma sector specifically are currently in an active consolidation and business development cycle. Having access to a truly innovative technology that compliments ours as a companion diagnostic could greatly enhance the value of the Mannin Research MAN-01 technology. We are excited to evaluate this technology and look forward to a new collaborative partnership with a leading institution like Washington University School of Medicine," Denis Corin, CEO of Q BioMed, said in a company news release.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a marker of damage to cells in the eye that potentially could be used to monitor progression of the disease and the effectiveness of treatment. Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) is a member of the transforming growth factor (TGF-beta) superfamily and was recently identified as a promising biomarker for glaucoma.
The researchers discovered GDF15 to be a biomarker for glaucoma using an array analysis, which identified chemokines, growth factors, TGF-beta family members and other ligands whose expression increased in the optic nerve crush model of glaucoma but not in endotoxin-induced uveitis or light-induced retinal degeneration models. They also validated GDF15 in both rat models of glaucoma and in patients, showing that its expression correlates with disease severity. Overall, GDF15 represents an attractive biomarker for glaucoma with distinct advantages (i.e., early detection) over conventional clinical tests and has the potential to be a first-in-class diagnostic test. The researchers' findings were published online May 4, 2017 in the journal JCI Insight.