By John Vandermosten, CFA
Over the last couple weeks Predictive Technology Group (PRED) has achieved two milestones in its advance towards validating and commercializing its endometriosis diagnostic test. On June 19th the company announced a research collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific and on June 24th presented new genetic findings in endometriosis at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) conference. We attach significant value to Predictive’s efforts in endometriosis as it is a component of the ARTguide and Fertility Dx diagnostics and is the purpose of the ENDORisk diagnostic. As we discussed in our initiation, the disease impacts an estimated 200 million women worldwide, is frequently misdiagnosed and can be diagnosed early with Predictive’s genetic tests.
Thermo Fisher’s collaboration with Predictive Laboratories is focused on studying the genetic factors underlying infertility in women. Thermo Fisher is a global leader in diagnostics and provides a number of assays and sequencing tools that are used in the development, optimization, validation and verification of tests for reproductive health. The primary focus of the work will center on endometriosis, which is estimated to affect 40% of women with infertility. With this arrangement, not only does Thermo Fisher help cement its reputation as a dominant player in the research of genetic diseases but Predictive is able to bring greater attention to its leading edge work. Predictive has combined the information from its DNA sample library, exome sequencing database, ancestry records and other genetic data with Thermo Fisher’s assays and sequencers to develop effective tests to estimate the probability of certain conditions.
View Exhibit I - ARTguide Diagnostic Result Tear Sheet
The collaboration will combine Predictive’s research with Thermo Fisher’s equipment to identify women who are most likely to suffer from endometriosis. The equipment that will be used includes Thermo Fisher’s Applied Biosystems CarrierScan Assay, Ion ReproSeq PGS Assay, CytoScan Dx Assay, and Ion AmpliSeq Exome RDY.
View Exhibit II - Applied Biosystems CarrierScan Assay Components
Many of these assays and tests can be run on the Ion GeneStudio S5 genetic sequencer imaged below.
View Exhibit III - Ion GeneStudio S5 System
As part of Predictive’s research advancements in identifying gene markers for disease, Dr. Kenneth Ward takes on a leading role. He sits on Predictive’s Scientific Advisory Board and also presented new data demonstrating the genetic basis of endometriosis at the ESHRE conference held June 23 to 26 in Vienna, Austria. His work condensed the key identifiers of endometriosis to mutations in four genes identified as ZNF586, LUZP4, POP4 and UNC5CL.
The underlying research found that 25% of women with endometriosis present at least one of these mutated genes compared to 8% for the population overall. It additionally found that there were 141 distinct coding mutations in the identified genes. These results combined with other genetic data will be used to develop genetic tests that will predict the likelihood of endometriosis in women. The process also forms the basis for an approach that will support the development of additional tests in scoliosis, degenerative disc disease and other genetic disorders.
Predictive has distinguished itself as a trailblazer in genetic diagnostic testing. Their access to a substantial and broad genetic data set and consistent focus on fertility medicine has placed them in the vanguard of companies in their industry. We expect to see additional genetic tests launched in the coming quarters leveraging the company’s data and research expertise.
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By John Vandermosten, CFA