MONMOUTH JUNCTION, NJ--(Marketwired - March 15, 2017) - DiamiR, LLC, a developer of innovative diagnostic tests for neurodegenerative and other diseases, announced today that the National Institute on Aging (NIA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded DiamiR a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase IIB grant to support further development of the company's targeted diagnostic technology, based on the analysis of brain-enriched microRNA biomarkers in plasma, for detection of Alzheimer's disease at presymptomatic, mild cognitive impairment and dementia stages. The award will provide DiamiR with approximately $2.75M over three years. This program builds upon earlier studies conducted by the company in collaboration with leading academic centers and supported in part by the previously received SBIR Phase I ($225,000) and SBIR Phase II ($1.5M) grants.
"Alzheimer's disease is proving to be an extremely difficult indication to develop treatment for. Much remains unknown about the biological mechanisms underlying the disease, but what we do know is that synaptic dysfunction and loss occur early in the course of neurodegeneration," said Samuil Umansky, MD, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of DiamiR and Principal Investigator on the project. "Our novel, blood-based diagnostic approach focuses on detecting changes in the synaptic health of the specific brain regions affected by the disease, with the goal of identifying patients earlier, preferably before they exhibit clinical symptoms, when treatment can be more effective."
"We are grateful to the NIH for their support," added Kira Sheinerman, PhD, CEO of DiamiR. "This funding will help us expedite the development of DiamiR's first test, CogniMIR™. Initially, we expect that the test will contribute to the characterization of heterogeneous populations of early-stage Alzheimer's patients in clinical trials. In the long term, the test, along with other diagnostic tools, could be used by the broader medical and scientific community to evaluate at- risk populations, monitor disease progression, and plan better care."
About microRNAs as biomarkers of brain health
microRNAs are a class of small non-coding regulatory RNA molecules, which modulate target gene expression and protein production, and whose levels often change in disease. Certain microRNAs are enriched in different brain regions (e.g. hippocampus, midbrain), cells (e.g. neurons), and cellular compartments (e.g. synapses and neurites). microRNAs can cross the blood-brain barrier. Synapse dysfunction and/or loss occurs early in the development of many neurodegenerative diseases. Thus, brain-enriched microRNAs, present in synapses and detectable in plasma, can be effective and patient-friendly biomarkers, reflective of processes underlying brain health conditions.
DiamiR, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DiamiR Biosciences Corp., is a privately held molecular diagnostics company focused on developing minimally invasive tests for early detection and monitoring of mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions. The proprietary technology is based on quantitative analysis of organ-enriched microRNA signatures in plasma and is being developed for screening, patient stratification, as well as disease progression and treatment monitoring. DiamiR collaborates with leading academic centers, disease foundations, and pharma companies. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.diamirbio.com.
Please Note: This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding future events. These statements are just predictions and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual events or results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties include, among others: the results, timing, costs and regulatory review of our studies and clinical trials; the results of studies of our product candidates conducted by others; our ability to obtain future funding on acceptable terms; our ability to obtain regulatory approval of our product candidates; the possible impairment of, or inability to obtain, intellectual property rights; and innovation by our competitors.