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DiaGenic to Provide MCI Biomarkers for Merz Pharmaceuticals
Date:6/24/2009

OSLO, June 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- DiaGenic ASA (OSL: DIAG) today announced that it has signed an option agreement with Merz Pharmaceuticals GmbH, an innovative developer of drugs for treatment of illnesses in neurology and psychiatry, to gain access to biomarkers for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), increasingly considered a transitional stage to Alzheimer's disease. The biomarkers are intended to be used to identify patients with MCI prone to converting to Alzheimer's disease for inclusion into Merz' clinical trial programs. Merz will also receive an option for non-exclusive rights to further biomarkers under the terms of the agreement. Financial details were not disclosed.

"This agreement with Merz is a major milestone in DiaGenic's development, marking both further recognition of our blood-based gene expression diagnostic concept and a new market area," said DiaGenic CEO Erik Christensen, M.D., Ph.D., We have already successfully identified biomarkers of prodromal Alzheimer's disease. The agreement with Merz will enable us to accelerate our ongoing multicenter study by recruiting additional sites. There is a growing consensus that using biomarkers will be critical in order to accelerate development of Alzheimer's drugs, especially those with disease-modifying or preventive therapeutic effect. We look forward to working with Merz to provide further evidence. In general, patient stratification for clinical trials using biomarkers is a rapidly growing sector and we feel we are poised to make a significant contribution," concludes Christensen.

One of the new sites will be the University of California, Davis and Prof. Charles DeCarli, Director of Alzheimer's Disease Center commented: "We are very pleased to take part in this very exciting research and I strongly believe in the utility of DiaGenic technology using peripheral gene expression to identify biomarkers for CNS disorders."


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SOURCE Merz Pharmaceuticals GmbH and DiaGenic ASA
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