MENLO PARK, Calif., March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Telome Health, Inc. (THI) officially launched today with an exclusive worldwide intellectual property portfolio. THI will provide telomere length data from tissue samples for academic research, pharmaceutical drug development, and health monitoring.
THI leverages the predictive power of data related to telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes, to assess health status, disease and mortality risk, and responses to specific therapies. The test will provide doctors with important data about their patients' health and disease risk to better inform their clinical decisions. Telomere health measures integrate many factors, both genetic and non-genetic. "We recently secured an exclusive worldwide license to the telomere patent portfolio developed by Dr. Richard Cawthon at the University of Utah. In addition to clinical utility, measuring telomere length will also allow people to gauge their overall health status and determine whether lifestyle changes are necessary and potentially indicate the effectiveness of those changes," stated Daniel Hunt, THI's interim CEO.
Two of THI's founders played key roles in developing the field of telomere biology: Professor Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D. (UCSF), the 2009 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, for her seminal work on telomere structure and function and the discovery of telomerase, the enzyme that synthesizes telomeric DNA; and Calvin Harley, Ph.D., who linked telomeres and telomerase to human cell aging and disease, and translated telomere science into drug development at Geron Corporation as VP Research and CSO.
"Two of the patents in the portfolio cover the qPCR method for measuring telomere length, which is scalable and cost-effective and we believe will be the dominant technology for high-throughput assays and a key competitive advantage for Telome Health in our field," explained Dr. Harley, THI's CSO. "Dr. Cawthon, an internationally known expert in the field, is a member of THI's Clinical and Scientific advisory board. As telomere biology continues to evolve, THI will develop and commercialize additional diagnostics based on telomere biology. We are now accepting requests to assay telomere length in samples from academic, pharmaceutical, and corporate research groups, with health monitoring testing planned for the second half of 2011."
"Telomeres are the only part of the genome itself that can be changed by lifestyle choices, and hence telomere length measurements can provide valuable feedback on ones' disease risks and, potentially, the effects of lifestyle changes," stated Dr. Blackburn, THI's Co-founder and Chair of the Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board. "Science and discovery are my personal passion and motivation. While laboratory research is my usual focus, the opportunity presented by THI is so compelling that I have been deeply committed to this concept since its first inception. The multiple applications toward prevention, wellness, and individualized treatment presented by telomere-based diagnostics can support a paradigm shift for healthcare worldwide. I am pleased to be associated with this natural extension of my research."
Background Information on Telomere Biology
Established Science: Over 4,000 peer-reviewed scientific publications relate to telomere biology and aging or disease. Many of these studies establish both associations and causal links between short telomeres or altered telomerase levels and major diseases, and demonstrate the diagnostic utility of these "telome measures" to monitor health status, disease risk, prognosis, and drug response.
A Broad-Spectrum Disease and Drug Response Biomarker: While most biomarkers are specific for certain diseases, telomere shortness uniquely is a parameter predictive of an increased risk of many diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular, fibrotic and inflammatory diseases, depression, and diabetes. In some studies, it is superior to conventional biomarkers.
In addition, telomere length is emerging as a measure that has utility in predicting drug response. Many patients have little or no response to certain drug therapies and many of these therapies have serious adverse effects. Recent data has suggested that telomere length may help predict responders, non-responders, or subjects who are at increased risk for negative side effects of certain drugs.
A "Health Biomarker:" There are over 180 million people in the US over age 30 – and a growing number of them have an interest in actively managing their health. THI founders believe that telomere length as an overall health barometer will be an integral component in the personalized medicine revolution, which includes individualized health maintenance plans based on new health monitoring tools.
This news release may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned that statements in this press release regarding potential applications of THI's technology constitute forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and commercialization of potential products, uncertainty of clinical trial results or regulatory approvals or clearances, need for future capital, dependence upon collaborators and protection of our intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements.
For more information, contact:
Maureen Smith, Executive Director, Strategic Communications
|SOURCE Telome Health, Inc.|
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