J&J, Philips partner to develop hand-held blood test for neuropsychiatric disorders

The hand-held analyzer--Courtesy of Philips

Royal Philips ($PHG) and Janssen Pharmaceutical have partnered in a multiyear deal to create a hand-held, blood-based diagnostic for brain disorders. The test will be based on a product that Philips is already developing, the Minicare system. The financial details of the partnership were undisclosed.

Philips is developing the Minicare system to test for acute coronary syndrome in an emergency setting. The expectation is that the test will produce lab-equivalent results of cardiac markers within minutes at the point of care with only a few drops of blood.

Minicare is expected to test for troponin; that's now a lab-based test that can take more than an hour to offer results. Currently, electrocardiograms are used in emergency situations to identify patients with the deadliest form of heart attack that account for about one-third of myocardial infarctions, the ST segment elevation myocardial infarction.

In the Janssen deal, Philips will be responsible for developing the neuropsychiatric disorder test as part of its Minicare system. Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) company that is one of the few biopharmas to retain a focus in the notoriously difficult field of neurology, will be responsible for clinical studies to validate the test and commercialization of a product.

Janssen's neurological R&D areas of interest include Alzheimer's disease, mood disorders (such as bipolar disease and major depressive disorder and schizophrenia) and pain (with a particular focus on chronic pain and neuropathic pain).

Philips CEO Frans van Houten

"Our technology can play an important role in the management of chronic diseases in the hospital and the home," Frans van Houten, CEO of Philips, said in a statement. "Better care for patients with neuropsychiatric disorders is a key driver to improve patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs. The collaboration with Janssen is a great example of our open innovation business model, combining their strength in neuroscience with the biosensor technology in our Minicare I-20 platform."

He has major ambitions for this small diagnostic tool--an urgency that's not surprising given Philips' ongoing refocus onto HealthTech, a combination of its consumer and healthcare businesses. The conglomerate's current strengths in healthcare include diagnostics and imaging.

The Minicare I-20 system includes a hand-held analyzer, software and single-use, disposable cartridges. The system is designed to detect multiple target molecules at low concentrations with the same blood sample and to display results in minutes.

"Going forward, I firmly believe that the Minicare system consisting of the analyzer and application-specific cartridges and software, can be tailored to a wide range of other pharmaceuticals," van Houten concluded.

- here is the release