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Sanofi Announces Upcoming Launch of MyStar Extra, the First Self-Monitoring Blood Glucose Meter With Estimated A1c

At the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Barcelona, Spain, Sanofi (EURONEXT : SAN and NYSE : SNY) recently presented the innovative blood glucose meter MyStar Extra®, the first self-monitoring device that provides robust estimates of the A1c value, a key indicator for long-term glucose control.[3],[4] The hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) assay has become the cornerstone for the assessment of diabetes control and A1c test results are widely used to guide treatment decisions.[5],[6] Especially convenient for people starting on insulin or using insulin, MyStar Extra® is a supportive meter, designed to help people with diabetes be engaged in their insulin management and treatment plan.[7],[8],[9]

Quintiles Asks, ‘Why Not Test for Many Biomarkers at Once?’ When Evaluating Therapies for Cancer Patients

Calling the concept “pre-profiling,” Quintiles (Research Triangle Park, NC) is collaborating with US Oncology Research (the research arm of McKesson Specialty Health) to test the value of running multiple biomarker tests at once for cancer patients—in this case those with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Either for initial therapy, or as a step to selecting candidates for clinical trials, the current practice is to look for genomic data that is relevant to one type of therapy; if the suitable genomic variant is found, the clinician then knows that the patient is a good trial candidate, or that the patient could benefit from a specific therapy. Quintiles is suggesting to look at many variants or makers initially and then make treatment or trial recruitment decisions.

In practice, says Dr. Jeffrey Spaeder, CMO at Quintiles, a biopsy would be retrieved from the patient, DNA and other genomic information sequenced, abnormalities identified, and bioinformatics analysis conducted, then returning the results back to the clinician. “All these steps sound intuitively straightforward, but they involve complex handoffs of information and clinical decisions,” he says. Understanding what the clinician can do with the data needs to be determined; what choices the patient might have for one therapy or another; and in the final analysis, whether better outcomes could be achieved remain to be evaluated. Eventually, the multiple-biomarker process could become a step in the clinical pathways that various organizations have developed for treatment of cancers. “Early indications from this study suggest that we can provide physicians and patients with early visibility on potentially clinically actionable biomarkers within a rapid two-week timeframe. This level and speed of analysis has promise to save valuable time in administering potentially life-saving therapies to patients, and reduce the development times of precision medicines.”

The biomarker field, while demonstrating exciting new potential and spurring the evolution of personalized (or “precision”) medicine, is fraught with operational difficulties. Insurers are selective about what biomarker tests they are willing to pay for; practitioners have varying enthusiasm for the tests, and the clarity around which tests lead to beneficial outcomes are not clear. Even so, this study could be one of a series of medical innovations to make biomarkers a standard element of cancer therapy.

Source: Pharmaceutical Commerce

Assurex Health Appoints Veteran P&G Consumer Products Executive Virginia Coleman Drosos President to Lead Personalized Medicine Growth

Assurex Health, a personalized medicine company specializing in pharmacogenomics for neuropsychiatric and other disorders, recently announced that Procter & Gamble veteran Virginia “Gina” Coleman Drosos has joined its leadership team in the role of President.

Drosos joins Assurex Health with more than 25 years of global business leadership, innovation, operations and consumer marketing expertise. During her 25 year career at The Procter & Gamble Company (PG), Gina held positions of increasing responsibility in the United States and internationally delivering strong proven results. She most recently served P&G as Group President for Global Beauty Care, a $6 billion global business unit with over 6,000 employees in 120 countries. 

“Gina brings extensive leadership and strong results on global consumer-driven businesses,” said James S. Burns, CEO of Assurex Health. “I’m particularly excited about Gina joining the team because health care is rapidly moving into an era of patient-empowerment, leading a shift to consumer-enabled personalized medicine. In bringing neuropsychiatric pharmacogenomics to a market of 40+ million patients in the U.S. alone, Assurex will benefit from Gina’s experience in creating awareness and cultivating a huge base of patients/consumers/caregivers, 80% of whom are women as the primary medical decision maker.”

Assurex Health’s pharmacogenomic technology is a breakthrough in personalized medicine. Based on each patient’s personal genetic profile, GeneSight tests help clinicians determine the right treatment medications for patients with depression, ADHD, chronic pain and other neuropsychiatric disorders. “Eliminating today’s typical trial and error process for selecting medications can help people reclaim their lives and reduces healthcare costs,” said Drosos. “I look forward to applying my experience leading in the consumer space to help make personalized medicine a standard of care in the industry. With exciting new innovations in the pipeline and our technology-information-consumer platform, I’m confident Assurex will help more physicians and practitioners determine the best treatment options and lead the movement toward consumer-enabled personalized medicine.”

Drosos also serves on the Board of Directors for several major corporations including Signet Jewelers Ltd. (SIG) and American Financial Group (AFG). Drosos earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Georgia, a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and was recognized as one of Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business in 2010 and 2011.

Source: PR Newswire

AB SCIEX Proteomics Scientist Wins HUPO 2013 Science and Technology Award

The Human Proteome Organization (HUPO) recently awarded Christie Hunter, Ph.D, director of proteomics applications at AB SCIEX, its 2013 Science and Technology Award at an award ceremony during last week’s HUPO 2013 conference in Japan. Dr. Hunter was recognized for her contributions to the development and commercialization of a breakthrough approach for targeted proteomics. The analytical strategy of targeted proteomics was recently named “Method of the Year” by Nature Methods.

Targeted proteomics is a standardized, biological research workflow that focuses on reproducibly quantifying a specific subset of proteins within a sample. It generates data that is vital for biologists to answer hypothesis-driven, biological questions.

A decade ago, proteomics research was dominated by discovery workflows, which provided valuable information on a single sample but lacked the reproducibility to generate robust quantitation across a larger sample set. New innovation was needed at the time to move the field beyond simply producing large lists of identified proteins and toward providing highly quantitative answers.

This led to the development of a multiple reaction monitoring (MRM)-triggered, tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) workflow at AB SCIEX to rapidly create high sensitivity MRM assays to target peptides that are unique to their associated proteins. This workflow was made possible by the combination of triple quadrupole and linear ion trap functionality in a single system called the AB SCIEX QTRAP® System.

Dr. Hunter ‒ in collaboration with researcher Dr. Leigh Anderson, the founder of the Plasma Proteome Institute and head of SISCAPA Assay Technologies ‒ pioneered a workflow that applied MRM to the targeted quantification of proteins and peptides in plasma by mass spectrometry. In their initial publication[1], Dr. Hunter and Dr. Anderson demonstrated that a targeted workflow could be applied to multiplexed quantitation of proteins in human plasma with high reproducibility and high confidence in the results.

The impact of the paper resulted in broad adoption of the MRM technique around the world to accelerate the verification and validation of putative protein biomarkers, generating more than 800 citations, according to Google Scholar. Less than a decade after this important work, most proteomics laboratories today use a triple quadrupole-based mass spectrometer to perform MRM analysis.

“We congratulate Dr. Christie Hunter on receiving such a prestigious award from HUPO in recognition of her significant contributions to the rise of targeted proteomics as a viable technique to advance biomarker research,” said Dave Hicks, Vice President and General Manager of the Pharmaceutical and Academic Business at AB SCIEX.

“Dr. Hunter and her AB SCIEX colleagues continue to participate in exciting collaborations with leading proteomics researchers around the world to drive new innovations in software, chemistries and instrumentation that further expand quantitative proteomics workflows for the growing community of mass spectrometry users at large,” added Hicks.

Currently, Dr. Hunter is playing a pivotal role in the development of higher specificity workflows for targeted protein quantitation to overcome situations where sensitivity is limited by interferences or background. She is involved in the investigation of the utility of differential mobility separations for added selectivity of quantitation of peptides in complex mixtures. She is also working to enhance data-independent acquisition strategies, such as SWATHTM Acquisition, for quantitative proteomics to increase the multiplexing and reproducibility that can be achieved in a single experiment.

Source: AB SCIEX

Metabolon and Stemina Biomarker Discovery Settle Patent Dispute

Metabolon, Inc. and Stemina Biomarker Discovery, Inc. have entered into a licensing agreement and dismissed the patent litigation which was pending in the United States District Court, Western District of Wisconsin. Terms of the licensing agreement have not been released.

Elizabeth Donley, Chief Executive Officer of Stemina, said “We are happy to have reached an agreement with Metabolon and to have settled our differences in a way that allows both companies to move forward.” Donley stated she is focused on ongoing autism studies and raising money to accelerate the pace to market for Stemina’s blood test for autism as well as putting the final details together on a large contract with the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

“We are pleased to reach an agreement that brings our pending litigation to an end and further underscores the significant value of Metabolon’s technological innovations and Intellectual Property,” said John Ryals, CEO and President of Metabolon. Ryals continued, “Our focus continues to be the needs of our collaborators and the advancement of the metabolomics science for biomarker discovery, to uncover solutions in medical and nutritional research and the life sciences.”

Source: Business Wire