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Axial Biotech Enters Partnership with the University of Utah to Utilize the Utah Population Database to Develop Personalized Diagnostic Tests for Spine Disorders
Date:7/22/2009

SALT LAKE CITY, July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Axial Biotech, Inc., a company personalizing spine care through the development of molecular diagnostics, and the University of Utah today announced that they have entered into a collaboration that allows Axial access to the University's rich genetic resources including the Utah Population Database (UPDB). UPDB is a genealogical and family history database composed of more than 6 million records that provides a rich source of information for genetic, epidemiological, demographic and public health studies which can be used to identify familial clusters of disease including spinal disorders. The UPDB combined with Axial's proprietary GenDB Genealogical Database will help Axial researchers expand the indications and patient population for the ScoliScore(TM) AIS Prognostic Test - the first test to determine the risk of progressive scoliosis - as well as expand the development of additional personalized tests for scoliosis, degenerative disc disease and other spine disorders.

"Access to both the UPDB and GenDB databases is a powerful resource for Axial," said Kenneth Ward, M.D., chairman of the board and chief scientific officer of Axial Biotech. "With a robust library of family histories and linked diseases at our finger tips, we aim to define the genetic makeup of spinal disorders in an effort to develop diagnostic and prognostic tests that can enable the medical community to provide more personalized spine care."

The UPDB is a University of Utah resource that makes available large datasets and multi-generation pedigrees to support research projects. The central component of the UPDB is an extensive set of Utah family histories, in which family members are linked to demographic and medical information.

Utah has an ideal population of extended families with multiple generations whose medical histories can be used to quickly determine heritability of complex diseases. As a result of high rates of immigration to Utah from a broad array of ethnic backgrounds, the heterogeneity allows for population studies representative of the general population of the United States.

"Our partnership with Axial is an example of the expanding capabilities of our genetic assets," said Brian Cummings, director of the Technology Commercialization Office for the University of Utah. "We look forward to a long term partnership with such a strong local company and helping Axial further its position in the diagnostics of spinal disorders."

GenDB, Axial's proprietary genealogical database, has already been used to develop ScoliScore AIS Prognostic Test, a personalized test to determine the risk of developing severe scoliosis and the first molecular diagnostic for a spine disorder. GenDB contains multi-generational genealogical records of more than 30 million ancestors and descendants of the original Utah pioneers. The database and software allow for a retrievable format for assembling family pedigrees. GenDB has dramatically accelerated the product development process and is being used to develop additional scoliosis products and a product line for adult degenerative disc disease.

"In a short amount of time we were able to crack the genetic code to progressive scoliosis using our GenDB database," said John Climaco, president and chief executive officer of Axial Biotech. "Through the mapping of a disease passed on from family member to family member, the University's proprietary datasets further accelerate our ability to identify and validate genetic markers that can be used to develop diagnostic tests that allow for a more personalized and a more accurate approach to spine care."

About Axial Biotech

Axial Biotech, Inc. is advancing first-of-a-kind molecular diagnostics that answer key clinical questions in spine care, allowing for more accurate and personal treatment decisions of spine disorders. Axial markets the ScoliScore(TM) AIS Prognostic Test, the first and only test that utilizes the genetic blueprint of progressive scoliosis to enable physicians to identify which patients will ultimately not progress to a severe curvature. Given at the first sign of the disorder, the test enables the physician to confidently recommend the most personalized treatment for each patient. Using the same approach that led to the successful development of the ScoliScore AIS Prognostic Test, Axial is currently developing a predictive test for surgical outcomes for patients with degenerative disc disease. Axial is a privately held, venture-backed molecular diagnostics company founded in 2003 by a group of internationally recognized spine surgeons and geneticists. More information is at www.axialbiotech.com.

About The University of Utah

The University of Utah has long been recognized for its leadership position in personalized medicine and genetic research. In fact, more disease-causing genes have been discovered in Utah than in any other place world-wide. The University is nationally recognized for it successful role in commercialization and in seeking successful public private partnerships that focus on the diagnoses, treatment and cure of disease.


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SOURCE Axial Biotech, Inc.
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