Cytox awarded Innovate UK funding for Alzheimer’s testing

Cytox, an emerging precision medicine leader providing genetic testing for Alzheimer’s disease, has announced that, in partnership with Cardiff University, they have been awarded funding by Innovate UK. The award is £800,000 out of a total project value of £1m over two years.

BusinessWire reports the project will evaluate and validate the clinical utility of a customised SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) panel associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The team comprises Professor Valentina Escott-Price and Professor Julie Williams from Cardiff University and Cytox.

Dr Richard Pither, CEO of Cytox, said “We are delighted to be awarded further funding by Innovate UK. The previous award has enabled support for projects to date, and the subsequent commercialisation has been pivotal to the growth of the company. This new funding reaffirms the validity of our approach in this highly important area. We are also pleased to be collaborating with Cardiff University. We have been working with Professor Escott-Price as our AD statistical expert for a few years now, and welcome Professor Julie Williams, who is of course pre-eminent in the field of Alzheimer’s disease genetics research and currently one of the four leaders of the IGAP genetics consortium.”

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may be a prodromal state for Alzheimer’s disease and 50-60% of people with it are at high risk of progression to Alzheimer’s disease. However current prognostic methods for Alzheimer’s disease are only 25-30% accurate in early MCI. The lack of validated biomarkers hampers clinical management of people with MCI and Alzheimer’s, and the development of new therapies. The project will develop, optimise and test a set of polygenic risk score (PRS) approaches and then implement them on Cytox’s own proprietary software platform. Subsequently the algorithms will be tested in large cohorts of people with MCI and healthy volunteers, such as the recently well characterised five hundred person subset of the 1946 birth cohort, to demonstrate the validity of a panel of identified at risk Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers. The project aim is to confirm that a proprietary SNP panel and associated algorithm is an effective method for predicting the presence of Alzheimer’s pathology. Such a prognostic test is essential to enable meaningful clinical trials of emergent Alzheimer’s therapies.

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