Oxford BioDynamics, a revenue-generating biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of novel epigenetic biomarkers for use within the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, announces its participation in a collaboration to identify the biological factors that trigger disease relapses, known as flares, in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), entitled the BIO-FLARE study (Biological factors that limit sustained remission in Rheumatoid Arthritis).
Oxford BioDynamics is one of six consortium partners to examine and address why immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) remit and relapse, with a particular focus on RA. The consortium, which consists of three UK universities, one German commercial company, the NHS and Oxford Biodynamics, has been awarded a £2.8 million from the Medical Research Council (MRC).
Around 10 million people in the UK have a form of arthritis, of which almost 700,000 have RA. There is no known cure for the condition, which causes joint pain and swelling, stiffness and fatigue.
Without adequate therapy, the average life expectancy for a patient with RA may be shortened by 3-7 years, and those with severe forms of RA may die as much as 10-15 years earlier than expected.
Oxford BioDynamics’ role within the consortium is to use its technology platform, EpiSwitch, to identify epigenetic biomarkers in a RA patient population that are associated with impending relapse in RA.
Any resultant IP generated by Oxford BioDynamics will be retained by the company with the aim of developing a prognostic test that has the potential to accurately predict patients that are likely to have RA flares.
Christian Hoyer Millar, CEO of Oxford BioDynamics, commented: “Although a considerable amount is understood about RA aetiology and pathogenesis, nothing is known of the factors that trigger disease relapses, changing the disease from an inactive to an active state.”
“We are pleased to be a part of this consortium, working together to gain a greater understanding of the relapsing and remitting aspect of RA. The work we will undertake as part of the BIO-FLARE study has the potential to lead us to the development of an epigenetic-based prognostic test for RA flares, an important unmet medical need.”