MicroParticle Proteomics Licenses Cardio Disease Biomarker from U.Va. Patent Foundation

MicroParticle Proteomics said last week that it has exclusively licensed a blood-based biomarker from the University of Virginia Patent Foundation that could serve as the basis for diagnostic and prognostic tests for cardiovascular disease and ischemic heart failure.

The biomarker was discovered by former U.Va. researcher and company co-founder Klaus Ley using a proteomics platform that he also developed while at the university and upon which MPP was founded.

MPP, based in La Jolla, Calif., also owns the rights to a patent covering the platform technology, which it obtained directly from Ley after UVAPF assigned it back to him when he left the university in 2007.

With both a methods patent and its first biomarker in hand, MPP is now seeking investors or development partners to help conduct additional clinical studies for MPP-CV2, which the company said could help physicians identify high-risk cardiac patients and tailor their treatments.

The company said that MPP-CV2 can identify post-coronary artery repair patients who are at greatest risk of serious adverse outcomes, such as myocardial infarction, stroke, or death, following a recent intervention.

In an unpublished proof-of-concept study of 77 patients using an ELISA assay format, the marker correctly predicted patients at risk of serious cardiovascular events following coronary angioplasty, according to the company.

MPP also said that in an early clinical trial MPP-CV2 was used to identify patients with ischemic heart failure that were at increased mortality risk.

The company said that there are more than 1.3 million coronary vascular repair procedures performed annually in the US, and up to 20 percent of patients undergoing vessel repair experience serious adverse outcomes in the first year.

In addition, MPP said that more than 5 million patients are diagnosed with heart failure in the US, and that 60 percent of those suffer ischemic heart failure, which is associated with 10 percent to 15 percent mortality in the first year.

"We demonstrated in two small patient trials that we could ID patients that are at risk following coronary artery repair, and the samewith patients diagnosed with ischemic heart failure," Jack DeFranco, CEO of MPP, told BTW last week. "The significance of this is that a physician may now be able to ID patients at risk, and adjust their treatments accordingly."

Ley, who is currently head of autoimmune research and inflammation biology at the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology, developed the underlying proteomics method used to discover the biomarker while hewas employed by U.Va. The method examines a sub-fraction of plasma using high-performance liquid chromatography followed by tandem mass spectrometry, Ley told BTW last week.

U.Va. filed a US patent application in 2007 for the method on Ley's behalf, and was awarded US patent No. 7,462,489 in December 2008. The patent also names as a co-inventor David Smalley, a colleague of Ley's at the time.