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Assay Designs(TM), Inc. and the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation Announce Collaboration To Accelerate the Discovery of New Therapeutics for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
Date:9/15/2008

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Assay Designs and the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation (SMAF) are very pleased to announce a collaborative agreement for development of reagents and assays for SMN (Survival Motor Neuron) protein to expedite drug discovery and development efforts for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the leading genetic cause of mortality in infants and toddlers. "Assay Designs is excited and proud to have been selected by the SMA Foundation, and to help enable better understanding and ultimately improved treatment for this debilitating illness," commented Dan Calvo, President and CEO of Assay Designs. Providing a reliable and widely-available ELISA kit for measuring SMN protein levels will greatly simplify and accelerate the process of assessing the efficacy of potential drugs in clinical trials, which is key to the successful development of new therapeutics for this devastating disease. "We are pleased to bring results from the research sector out for general use in the community," states Loren Eng, president of the SMA Foundation.

SMA is a genetic, motor neuron disease characterized by the wasting of skeletal muscles. Caused by progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the spinal cord, the disease leads to increasing muscular weakness and atrophy. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 6,000 to 1 in 10,000 infants are born annually worldwide with SMA. SMA is often compared to polio because the same spinal cord cells are attacked in each disease. Over time, patients afflicted by this disease continue to lose muscle control and strength, progressively leading to inability to walk, stand, sit up and breathe.

Founded in 2003, the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating progress towards a treatment and cure for spinal muscular atrophy through targeted funding of clinical research and novel drug development efforts. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded over $50 million in sponsored research agreements. In addition, the Foundation is committed to raising awareness and generating support for increased research efforts in SMA among the leaders of industry and government.

For more than 16 years Assay Designs has supplied the worldwide biomedical research community with immunoanalytical assay solutions for the precise quantification of biomarkers in a variety of sample matrices and species. Since 2005 ADI also provides the full spectrum of Stressgen(R) immunological reagents such as antibodies and proteins, to aid drug discovery and basic research. Assay Designs offers customers one-stop-shop custom development services from antibody and recombinant protein production to the development, validation, and manufacturing of biomarker assays, providing a seamless transition and scale up from pre-clinical to clinical applications.

The collaboration with SMAF is in alignment with Assay Designs' mission to provide researchers with high quality reagents and assays to expedite their efforts in developing new cures and improving the quality of life for patients.

About Assay Designs, Inc.

Based in Ann Arbor, MI, Assay Designs develops and manufactures immunoassay (ELISA) kits, luminescent reagents, antibodies, proteins, and extracts used for life sciences research. The company markets these products under the "Assay Designs" and "Stressgen" brand names. Researchers use the company's products to detect and quantify molecules that are important in inflammation, cell signaling, and cellular stress.


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SOURCE Assay Designs, Inc.
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