Features nationally scaled RNA sequencing and specimen collection for multiple sclerosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with plans to expand
Decode Health, a healthcare AI company that enables a partner ecosystem to innovate and solve data challenges involving disease risk, today announced a new phase of its collaboration with Quest Diagnostics, the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services, to empower drug and diagnostics research and development in the growing fields of metabolic disease and autoimmune neurology.
In earlier phases of the collaboration, the two parties developed RNA (transcriptome) sequencing capabilities based on both parties’ next-generation sequencing, analytics and clinical expertise. In this latest phase, the parties have developed a national platform for collecting and storing deidentified consented specimens from individuals participating in research sponsored by pharmaceutical, academic research and patient engagement organizations. The platform includes Quest’s 2,100 patient service centers as well as its ExamOne mobile in-home phlebotomy team and a biobank at its advanced laboratory in Memphis, Tenn.
The collaboration is significant as biomarker-based data can help reduce the time and cost of developing novel diagnostic tests and identifying new drug targets. Nearly 60% of clinical trials include strategies to identify treatment biomarkers. As part of the collaboration, Quest and Decode will share benefits from any research, data licensing, biomarker discovery or diagnostics development that emerge. Additional terms were not disclosed.
“RNA analysis holds the potential to ignite the next generation of diagnostics and drug targets for MS and other metabolic and autoimmune neurological disorders,” said Jay G. Wohlgemuth, MD, Senior Vice President R&D and Chief Medical Officer, Quest Diagnostics. “To optimize this potential, Quest with Decode Health and other collaborators is mobilizing a nationally scaled sequencing, research and patient engagement platform to empower life science organizations to hasten these discoveries and bring precision medicine to life for patients in the U.S. and globally.”
At this stage of the collaboration, Decode and Quest’s initial focus is on addressing a pressing need for earlier detection, differential diagnosis and therapy selection for multiple sclerosis (MS), which affects about 2.8 million worldwide, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a metabolic disorder and the most common cause of liver disease worldwide. Both disorders can be challenging to diagnose, especially at their early stages; MS does not always respond to existing therapies, and NAFLD currently does not have standard therapies available. As the collaboration progresses, the parties plan to expand to additional clinical disease areas.
“Opportunities to significantly improve healthcare are hidden within data, especially for diagnostic and drug discoveries,” said Chase Spurlock, PhD, Co-founder and CEO of Decode Health. “The work we are doing today with Quest Diagnostics aims to unlock those discoveries. Every day, we are building upon our collective goal to advance precision medicine and improve health outcomes across a growing number of conditions. By collaborating with key healthcare stakeholders, including pharma, we believe that our work will create opportunities to fuel critical advances that unlock the next generation of cutting-edge diagnostics and therapeutics.”
Source – Quest Diagnostics