Cytox awarded Innovate UK funding for stratification of neurodegenerative diseases

  • April 20, 2015



Funding will aid clinical evaluation of genetic panel in MCI risk stratification, says CEO

Cytox an innovative developer of assays for risk assessment and prediction of dementia, is pleased to announce that, as part of a consortium, the company has been awarded funding by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, through the Collaborative Research and Development (CR&D) competition ND1: ‘Diagnosis, management and stratification’.

The CR&D project award is almost £1.3m ($1.9m) out of a total project value of £1.8m ($2.6m), over
three years.

The funding has been awarded to a UK consortium, comprising Cytox, as consortium lead, Dr
Zsuzsanna Nagy (University of Birmingham), Professor John Hardy (University College London); Dr
Valentina Escott-Price (University of Cardiff) will work as an expert consultant in statistical genetics
to the project team.

The project will evaluate and validate the clinical utility of a customized genetic
variation (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism [SNP]) panel associated with the mTOR signalling and
other pathways in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Dysregulation of the complex mTOR pathway
has been identified as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD); differentially expressed mTOR
pathway genes may regulate key functions linked to AD risk.

“We are delighted to be awarded funding by Innovate UK for this project,” commented Dr. Richard
Pither, CEO of Cytox, “There is heavy competition for such awards, so this funding represents
external support for our research by an expert review team and confirms the potential of our
proprietary data suggesting that an assessment of disease risk may be possible using a customised
genetic variation (SNP) panel associated with mTOR signalling and other pathways.

Dementia is now considered as one of the most important issues we face as the population ages, and is a Government target for action globally. The validation of this panel for future at risk individuals with MCI is a key goal for Cytox, with our eventual aim to work with pharma companies and clinicians to provide
prognostic tests to stratify early MCI patients.”

MCI may be a prodromal state for AD and over half of these patients are at high risk of progression
to AD. Current prognostic methods for AD are only 25-30% accurate in early MCI. The lack of
validated biomarkers hampers clinical management of AD and the production of new therapies. This
project will study prospectively, a large cohort of MCI patients to validate the proprietary genetic
variation panel for dementia risk. Such a prognostic test is essential to enable meaningful clinical
trials of emergent AD therapies. It is believed that mTOR dysregulation may also play a role as a risk
factor in other dementia types and neurological diseases.