Proteomics International partners with University of Oxford to advance endometriosis study

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By Imelda Cotton - 
Proteomics International ASX PIQ University Oxford Promarker endometriosis

Predictive diagnostics specialist Proteomics International Laboratories (ASX: PIQ) has signed an agreement with the University of Oxford to acquire approximately 600 patient plasma samples for a study into endometriosis.

The samples will be used to further clinically validate the performance of the company’s PromarkerEndo diagnostic models for detecting the disease.

Analysis is expected to be completed over the next four months.

PromarkerEndo is a diagnostic blood test that could provide early screening to determine the need for invasive surgery for females presenting with symptoms of endometriosis.

In May, the test correctly identified up to 90% of patients with endometriosis from a study of over 900 subjects and last month, the product’s biomarker panel was clinically validated in an independent Australian cohort.

A step closer

Proteomics managing director Dr Richard Lipscombe said the agreement moved PromarkerEndo a step closer to the clinic.

“Acquiring these international samples will allow us to verify the clinical performance of the PromarkerEndo test,” he said.

“It is fitting that we are able to make this announcement during Endometriosis Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness and highlight the challenges facing those with the disease particularly when it comes to receiving a timely diagnosis.”

Reduced wait times

Co-director of the Oxford Endometriosis Care Centre Professor Christian Becker hoped the agreement would reduce diagnostic wait times globally from the current 7.5-year average.

“We are excited to be able to provide Proteomics with these plasma samples to assist in the development of a non-invasive, more accessible and cost-efficient test for endometriosis,” he said.

“It is essential that work continues to shorten diagnostic wait times in order to improve health outcomes and overall quality of life for those with the condition.”

Painful condition

Endometriosis is an often painful inflammatory condition affecting one in nine females that can dramatically impact participation in school, work and social activities, as well as reduce fertility.

The disease is reported to cost the Australian economy as much as $9.7 billion a year, while the burden to the UK economy is $15.8b a year in treatment, loss of work and healthcare costs.

There are currently limited diagnostic tests available for endometriosis, with the gold standard for detection being through invasive surgical laparoscopy, where a camera is inserted into the pelvis through a small cut in the abdominal wall.

The Australian government introduced a $58.3 million initiative in March last year to establish country-wide endometriosis and pelvic pain clinics in an effort to provide more appropriate and timelier care and management for patients.

Delayed US launch

Last week, Proteomics confirmed the US launch of its PromarkerD predictive test for diabetic kidney disease would be delayed based on an assessment of the required technical and commercial preparations.

“The work required to launch a novel test has multiple components and the complexities involved in bringing it to broad clinical use have meant the process is taking longer than expected,” Dr Lipscombe said.

The launch is being managed through licensee Sonic Healthcare US.

He said the work being done with PromarkerD had given the company “invaluable knowledge and experience” to accelerate the commercialisation of other tests in development, namely PromarkerEndo and PromarkerEso for oesophageal cancer.