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GEN News Highlights : Aug 4, 2011

Banyan to Develop Biomarkers for Emory University’s Phase III Traumatic Brain Injury Study

Trial is being funded as part of a $2.2 million NIH grant for the progesterone treatment.

Brain biomarkers firm Banyan Biomarkers is to work alongside Emory University researchers to identify blood-based biomarkers that indicate the efficacy of treating traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients with progesterone.

The work will be carried out as part of the University’s NIH-sponsored Phase III trial evaluating progesterone therapy in 1,140 TBI patients. The five-year, $2.2 million grant was awarded to Emory School of Medicine professor Michael Frankel, M.D., working in collaboration with partners at Banyan, the Medical University of South Carolina, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Michigan.

While Banyan’s collaboration with Emory will evaluate the ability of biomarkers to monitor the efficacy of progesterone therapy, the firm says it expects that blood-based biomarkers will have the potential to significantly improve the ability to diagnose TBI and improve patient outcomes.

Banyan is focused on the development of biomarkers for the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with TBI and for use in the identification of potential drug targets and treatment monitoring. The firm claims it has generated an extensive pipeline of potential blood biomarkers and made significant progress in developing and clinically validating ELISA assays for TBI.  

Banyan has secured over $70 million in grants for biomarker discovery, development, and clinical validation in fields spanning TBI, stroke, liver injury, and other serious diseases and disorders. In October 2010, the firm was a awarded $26.3 million contract by the U.S. Department of Defense to develop a diagnostic test for TBI that would have applications in both military and civilian settings.