SynapDx, Illumina ally to develop autism diagnostic tools

SynapDx is allying with gene sequencer Illumina ($ILMN) to explore development of diagnostic tools for autism spectrum disorders and other "opportunities in neurodevelopment."

As these things often go, neither side is disclosing financial terms. But it is an intriguing development, particularly for SynapDx.

The Southborough, MA, company secured $6 million in new venture funding in December to help it proceed with a 600-patient multicenter clinical study for its blood diagnostic test for autism spectrum disorders. In joining forces with Illumina, SynapDx looks to build on that even further and build autism diagnostics to a whole new level, blending its tech with Illumina's gene sequencing platform to concoct "early detection tools for autism spectrum disorders."

But SynapDx can expand its product development reach even further if the partnership leads to other neurodevelopment diagnostics specific to pediatric care--an underserved market. SynapDx CEO Stanley Lapidus said in a statement that he sees both companies "broadly collaborating on multiple joint initiatives" specific to improving pediatric care. Details aren't forthcoming yet, but we expect to hear more as deals are forged and projects advance.

At least with autism spectrum disorders, however, both companies face an ongoing challenge: Autism appears to be caused by a variety of factors. So SynapDx's work, and its joint project with Illumina, will help certain classes of patients but not all. The gain, though, comes with the goal of developing tests that allow for earlier autism diagnoses, which potentially improves the chance for more effective treatment options.

SynapDx, launched only in 2010, has previously raised more than $9.3 million in venture funding; its investors include North Bridge Venture Partners and General Catalyst Partners.

- read the release

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