Alliance against rheumatoid arthritis
Barcelona/Nantes – Biomarker-specialist TcLand Expression in Nantes has found an ally in the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital Research Institute (HVIR) in Barcelona. The French company and the Spanish clinic will work together to develop biomarkers for predicting individual patient response to TNF alpha-blocker therapy for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). TcLand Expression has been granted exclusive access to the biomarkers predicting response to TNF alpha-blockers in RA that were discovered by HVIR’s Dr. Sara Marsal. Marsal’s team described the discovery of an eight-gene expression profile predicting the response to infliximab in a 2009 PLoS One paper (10.1371/journal.pone.0007556). “This predictor system will reduce the socioeconomic cost associated with these expensive therapies and, above all, will improve the quality of life of RA patients,” said Marsal. TcLand Expression is developing biomarkers primarily in immunological settings, such as transplantation and autoimmune disorders. In May, the firm closed a similar deal for RA-biomarkers with the Hospices Civils de Lyon hospital group. In the same month, the French National Research Agency awarded TcLand a450,000 in research funding for a companion diagnostics program in RA.