LOUISVILLE, Ky., Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- SureGene LLC, a Louisville-based healthcare company focused on personalized medicine for mental health, today announced the award of an SBIR Phase II Matching grant from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The grant is awarded as part of Kentucky's SBIR-STTR Matching Funds Program. The $365,579 in matching funds is in addition to two previous Kentucky SBIR matching awards in 2008 from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development's High-tech Pool.
"Small Businesses are critical to our economic growth and it is imperative that we support and recognize the contributions these companies make to our statewide economy," said Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear. "By matching the federal SBIR award to SureGene for its molecular diagnostic technology, Kentucky is demonstrating its commitment to supporting our high-tech companies and, specific to this award, in helping SureGene and its collaborators develop more effective treatments for mental illness."
The funds will be used in part to support the REST study – Relative Effectiveness of Schizophrenia Therapy, a joint SureGene and Medco Research Institute™, LLC clinical trial to further validate SureGene- developed genetic biomarkers as predictors of efficacy and safety for olanzapine, risperidone and other commonly used atypical antipsychotics in the treatment of serious mental illness. In addition, the collaboration will evaluate the cost effectiveness of using SureGene biomarkers as a standard part of future clinical care for mental illness.
Personalized medicine is a rapidly growing area of healthcare that focuses on how a person's genetic makeup can affect their ability to respond to medications, allowing physicians to make more effective and safe selection or dosing of a drug with the benefit of this additional genetic information. Currently, no FDA or CLIA approved personalized medicine tests exist to improve physician selection of antipsychotic therapies, so the new test and subsequent improved ability to select the proper antipsychotic therapy could significantly improve treatment of mental illness.
"A study of this nature has the potential to show that understanding a patient's genetic risk with the help of a diagnostic test can improve antipsychotic drug selection, efficacy, safety and compliance," said Dr. Bryan Dechario who is leading the study on behalf of the Medco Research Institute. "Medco's research partnership with SureGene could help provide evidence supporting the development of a genetic test that may assist physicians to make a personalized treatment decision for patients with these serious diseases."
"This award will greatly accelerate our plans to validate our first biomarker test, create high-tech jobs, and expedite our research efforts," said SureGene Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Mark Brennan. "We're grateful to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development for their support of our work on this important and much needed technology."
SureGene has created four full-time, high-tech and technical support jobs for Kentucky residents this year, paying an average annual salary of $60,000. Successful completion of the planned research is expected to create several more full-time, high-tech and technical support jobs for Kentucky residents over the next twelve months.
SureGene is a healthcare business focusing on personalized medicine for mental health. SureGene's technology can be used to identify genetic variations in sub populations that correlate with important safety factors, lack of effect as well as improved response to antipsychotic drugs. In addition, the technology can be used to segment clinical trials to enhance performance of antipsychotic and other drugs relative to active comparators, identify targets for drug repurposing and identify novel targets for drug development. For more information, go to http://www.suregene.net.
About Medco Research Institute
Medco Research Institute™, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) is an evidence-based research organization focused solely on novel research, analytics and new discoveries that close the gap between scientific discovery and medical practice for improved patient outcomes and lower overall healthcare costs. More information about the Medco Research Institute's peer-reviewed research can be found at www.medcoresearch.com.
About The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development
The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for creating new jobs and new investment in the state. New business investment in Kentucky in 2009 totaled nearly $977 million with the creation of more than 6,900 new jobs. Information on available development sites, workforce training, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other resources is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.
SOURCE Medco Research Institute