NextGen Sciences agrees on a deal with University of Nebraska Medical Center to discover CSF biomarkers

NextGen Sciences agrees on a deal with University of Nebraska Medical Center to discover CSF biomarkers of cognitive abnormality from chronically infected HIV patients

London, UK and Ann Arbor, Michigan, US, 17 August 2011 - NextGen Group plc (AIM:NGG) is pleased to announce that its US-subsidiary NextGen Sciences Inc, has been contracted by investigators at the NIMH-funded Chronic HIV Infection and Aging in NeuroAIDS (CHAIN) Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) to utilize their innovative and sensitive csfdiscovery43 assay to examine biomarkers in CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) associated with neuroAIDS. The csfdiscovery43 assay simultaneously measures 43 human CSF proteins that are thought to have potential as biomarkers in CNS (central nervous system) diseases. The goal of this project is to link the patterns of expression of these biomarkers in the CSF to cognitive abnormalities in chronically infected HIV patients.

Professor Howard Fox (Director of the Center for Integrative and Translational Neuroscience, UNMC) commented that ‘despite antiretroviral treatment, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (also known as neuroAIDS) have persisted, and the specific mechanisms and pathways leading to cognitive disorders are not fully understood. Furthermore, while it is fortunate that individuals with HIV can now look forward to aging, the greatest risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases is age. While HIV used to be a disease of young adults, within the next three years it is estimated that more than half of HIV infected individuals in the US will be greater than 50 years of age. These epidemiological trends suggest a risk, and raises concerns of an increase, in concomitant neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. One critical gap in neuroAIDS research, similar to many other neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions, is the identification of reliable molecular biomarkers. NextGen's quantitative csfdiscovery43 assay coupled to our unique collection of well-characterized CSF samples from a large longitudinally characterized cohort provides a really exciting opportunity for biomarker discovery and early stage qualification.'

Klaus Rosenau, Chairman and CEO of NextGen Group, commented, ‘we released the csfdiscovery43 assay in June of this year and we are delighted that the CNS R&D community is seeing the utility of our product for the discovery of novel biomarker profiles in CSF. We believe that pharmaceutical, biotechnology and diagnostics companies need high-quality assays relevant to their disease areas to inform their decision-making processes, and NextGen Sciences is currently working on the launch of more such products.'

NextGen's csfdiscovery43 assay is based upon its multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mass spectrometry platform, and generates high quality reproducible data that companies can use in their drug and diagnostic development programmes. In addition to the CNS disease focus, the assay can be used for early-stage biomarker discovery and qualification in other disease areas e.g. traumatic brain injury (TBI). NextGen expects to continue to add proteins to the csfdiscovery43 assay, in addition to developing other disease-focused assay panels, both as proprietary products and with other companies through partnerships and collaborations.

NextGen Sciences Inc (Ann Arbor, MI, USA) is the subsidiary of NextGen Group PLC, London, UK (AIM: NGG). It provides pharmaceutical, biotechnology and diagnostic companies with rapid and quantitative protein biomarker discovery, measurement and qualification services using mass spectrometry technology. With a rise in the industry focus on personalized medicine and cost-effectiveness, biomarkers are playing an increasing important role in drug discovery, development and patient access, as well as healthcare delivery. The global market for biomarkers is expected to grow to $12.8bn by 2012 (BCC Research), with those for neurological disorders ($3.5bn by 2015, Espicom Healthcare) and oncology ($9.5bn by 2014, www.marketsandmarkets.com) playing an important role. NextGen Sciences' products include discovery assays, oncology assays, CNS assays and cardiovascular assays for biomarker discovery and qualification. For more information please visit www.nextgensciences.com.

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