The goal is to establish infrastructure to evaluate biomarkers in trials and commercialize blood-based assays.

Biocortech inked a strategic alliance with France’s FondaMental foundation that aims to validate blood biomarkers for use in the diagnosis, prognosis, drug selection, and monitoring of patients with mental health disorders. The partners will work to clinically validate identified blood biomarkers, define relevant clinical settings, build up adequate resources to access blood samples, and set up and monitor clinical trials. Biocortech will be responsible for industrializing and commercializing qualified tests.

“Encouragingly, biomarker research in psychiatry, which lagged behind biomarker research in other disease areas for years, is now catching up,” comments Marion Leboyer, Ph.D., FondaMental’s director. “It is now critical to forge public-private, academic-industry partnerships such as the one we are entering into with Biocortech to turn promising biomarkers into much-needed blood tests.”

French firm Biocortech is developing biomarker-based blood tests to help clinicians personalize the treatment and management of psychiatric disorders including depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, and cognitive deficits. The firm’s technology is based on identifying biomarkers associated with RNA-editing, a processing event that occurs upstream to splicing. Biocortech is in addition developing an in vitro cell-line assay for use both in evaluating the risk of developmental drugs causing severe psychiatric side-effects, and to help match therapies to individual patients. Its Editox® assay for characterizing the CNS side effects of preclinical-stage drugs is offered on a fee-for-service basis. Biocortech’s Diadep® assay for diagnosing depression and predicting its severity started clinical development in 2009.

The FondaMental Foundation is an initiative that was established by the French government in 2007 to help promote psychiatric research and improve the diagnosis and treatment of relevant disorders.   

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