First of its Kind Public-Private Partnership Brings Personalized Medicine Testing to Millions of Mental Health Patients
Mason, OH – November 19, 2013 – Assurex Health, a leading personalized medicine company focused on neuropsychiatric disorders, today announced the company’s first public-private partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), one of the world’s leading research centers in the area of addiction and mental health and Canada’s largest mental health teaching hospital. This joint venture forms AssureRx Canada, Ltd., marking the first international expansion for Assurex Health. The venture expands the use of GeneSight®, a personalized medicine technology that analyzes a patient’s DNA to provide clinicians with an individualized report to help select appropriate treatments for depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, ADHD, and chronic pain.
This partnership has the potential to help millions of Canadians with mental illness avoid trial and error medication prescribing, which is an unfortunate reality for many patients. Recent studies show that only 30% of patients are prescribed a genetically appropriate medication the first time. This is costly to the health care system and to patients who suffer lost productivity, higher absenteeism, and family/relationship issues. With up to 60 million people in the US and Canada taking a psychotropic, ADHD, or analgesic medication, the North American neuropsychiatric pharmacogenomics market is estimated to be in excess of $ 4 billion.
Assurex Health has a proven track record in the U.S. with its GeneSight panel, a test reimbursed by a number of insurance companies as well as Medicare and Medicaid. In the U.S., Assurex Health data shows a 70% improvement in depressive symptoms when GeneSight testing is used to predict patient response to antidepressants, and a 28% reduction in health care costs. GeneSight currently provides information on 36 commonly used medications.
“We are thrilled about our collaboration with CAMH and the opportunity to combine our leading pharmacogenomics technology to serve the Canadian market,” said James S. Burns, CEO of Assurex Health. “CAMH is a global thought leader in mental health research and treatment. CAMH discoveries will further enhance our GeneSight products, aiding medication selection and augmenting patient responses to antidepressant and antipsychotic medications. We look forward to working together to help the millions of mental health patients who desire better treatment outcomes,” said Burns.
AssureRx Canada has been established as a subsidiary of Assurex Health, with equity ownership by CAMH and Assurex Health, including a Canadian office in Toronto and a certified clinical lab on CAMH premises. A key initial priority of the collaboration includes GeneSight testing of 20,000 Ontario patients for the purpose of improving patient treatment outcomes and reducing mental health care costs in the Province of Ontario. Further objectives include test validation and clinical studies to enhance GeneSight with new genetic markers discovered by CAMH. These include markers to predict which individuals will experience rapid weight gain after taking anti-psychotic medications, a side effect that impacts many patients. Through this partnership, CAMH will continue research and discovery into genetic markers with AssureRx Canada retaining exclusive rights to commercialize these discoveries globally. The combination of Assurex Health’s development and delivery expertise with CAMH’s research expertise ensures that progress in this area of personalized medicine will continue to grow for U.S. and Canadian mental health patients.
“This unique partnership combines CAMH’s research discoveries of genetic markers with Assurex Health’s expertise in developing, validating and bringing new psychiatric pharmacogenomics markers to market,” said Dr. Catherine Zahn,MD, President and CEO, CAMH. “We believe that this collaboration will promote the use of personalized medicine in psychiatry to help both doctors and patients experience a smoother process and improve health care for Canadians who need medications for mental health disorders.”
About Assurex Health
Assurex Health is a personalized medicine company that specializes in pharmacogenomics and is dedicated to helping physicians determine the right medication for individual patients with neuropsychiatric and other disorders. The company was founded to commercialize industry-leading personalized medicine technology for neuropsychiatric disorders. Assurex Health has licensed technology from Mayo Clinic and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
For more information about Assurex Health, please visit www.sandbox.assurexhealth.com.
GeneSight is a laboratory-developed pharmacogenomic test that uses cutting edge technology to measure and analyze clinically important genomic variants in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. The results of the GeneSight report can help a clinician understand the way a patient’s unique genomic makeup may affect certain psychiatric drugs. The analysis is based on pharmacogenomics, the study of genomic factors that influence an individual’s response to drug treatments, manufacturers’ FDA approved drug labels, peer reviewed scientific and clinical publications, and proven drug pharmacology. Quick turnaround time, combined with a customized report of the patient’s genomic makeup, clinical experience, and other factors can provide information to help a physician make personalized drug treatment choices for each patient.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, and one of the world’s leading research centers in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.
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For additional information, please contact:
Virginia C. Drosos, President