Danish population study offers opportunity for discovery of blood biomarkers in individuals who suffer a heart attack without prior history of cardiovascular disease.
BG Medicine today announced that it has entered into a research collaboration agreement with the Copenhagen General Population Study with the goals to discover and validate novel cardiovascular biomarkers, including those predictive of rupture of atherosclerotic plaque and myocardial infarction. The planned research, which will be conducted as part of BG Medicine’s High Risk Plaque (HRP) Initiative, will apply BG Medicine’s proprietary proteomic and metabolomic discovery platform capabilities. The High Risk Plaque Initiative was started by BG Medicine, Merck, Astra Zeneca and Philips. The research is expected to commence in March 2008, on samples obtained from various Copenhagen cohort studies, including the Copenhagen City Heart Study and the ongoing Copenhagen General Population Study and will be conducted in multiple phases.
Contrary to widely-held beliefs, most initial heart attacks occur in asymptomatic individuals who are considered at low or intermediate risk according to common risk-scoring algorithms, such as the Framingham Risk Score and European SCORE. Consequently, further material advances in reducing cardiac morbidity and deaths are correlated to the discovery, validation and development of novel diagnostic tools that can identify those asymptomatic individuals at high risk for cardiac events some time within four years of an occurrence, which is generally considered the near term. Because of the high global incidence of heart attacks and their immediate and long-term consequences, the discovery and commercialization of a valid tool to identify at-risk individuals before their first cardiovascular event would address this significant unmet medical need. Further, the research collaboration announced today between BG Medicine and the Copenhagen General Population Study is focused upon addressing this need.
“Novel laboratory technologies allow for accurate measurements of up to one thousand different biological molecules in less than 1mL of plasma sample,”
said Professor Borge Nordestgaard, Chairman of the Copenhagen General Population Study and principal investigator of the research collaboration with BG Medicine.
“This research is an excellent example of how plasma samples from large-scale epidemiological studies can be used for the discovery and development of novel in-vitro diagnostics to address a significant unmet medical need.”
“The size of the Copenhagen City Heart Study and the Copenhagen General Population Study cohorts, combined with the exceptional, long-term follow-up of nearly 100% of the study participants, facilitates important discoveries that require high-quality samples from before the onset of disease symptoms,”
said Erling Falk, Co-chair of the HRP study and Professor of Cardiovascular Pathology, Department of Cardiology, University of Aarhus, Denmark.
“These cohort studies leverage the advanced data systems that exist in Denmark to track medical events over the participants’ lifetimes.”
“The HRP Imitative and the Copenhagen City Heart Study initiate is an outstanding cooperation between the United States and Europe in an important area of bioscience,”
said Dr. Valentin Fuster, Co-chair of the HRP study, Director of Mount Sinai Heart Center in New York and Scientific President of the National Center for Cardiovascular Investigations (CNIC) in Madrid.
“This collaboration with the Copenhagen General Population Study is a core component of our cardiovascular program, which seeks to discover and develop novel cardiovascular diagnostics that address a significant unmet medical need”
said Pieter Muntendam, MD, President & CEO of BG Medicine.
“This study is a complement to the other atherosclerosis-related research projects that we are conducting as part of the broader, collaborative HRP Initiative.”
About the High Risk Plaque (HRP) Initiative
The HRP Initiative is an industry alliance that aims to discover and develop improved techniques for identifying individuals at risk for heart attacks and the advancement of methods to monitor cardiac disease progression and response to treatment. The HRP Initiative expects to dedicate a total of $30 million in funding toward this research over four years and to leverage recent advances in biology and technology to design and optimize a patient care-cycle for high-risk (vulnerable) plaque. Currently, Merck, AstraZeneca and Philips have joined biotechnology research company BG Medicine in this important initiative, with the overarching goals of reducing morbidity, mortality and costs associated with cardiovascular disease.
About BG Medicine
BG Medicine is a life sciences company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel molecular diagnostics based on biomarkers to improve patient outcomes and contain healthcare costs. BG Medicine discovers biomarkers and is developing its diagnostic product candidates using its proprietary, versatile, and scalable technology platform which integrates and automates the precise measurement, analysis, characterization and interpretation of proteins, and metabolites collected from bodily fluids.