LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services

LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services

February 02, 2015 08:00 ET

LifeLabs Launches Arthritis Blood Test JOINTstat™ (14-3-3eta) in Canada

Data will be presented at the 2015 Canadian Rheumatology Association Annual Scientific Meeting in Quebec City

TORONTO, ONTARIO and VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Feb. 2, 2015) - LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services ("LifeLabs") announced today the launch of JOINTstat™, a diagnostic blood test for rheumatoid arthritis. The JOINTstat™ blood test is the first test of its kind available in Canada that aids in the early detection and diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. When caught and treated early, rheumatoid arthritis outcomes can be greatly improved. Through an agreement with Augurex Life Sciences Corp., the developer of the JOINTstat™ test, JOINTstat™ is now offered exclusively by LifeLabs to patients and physicians across Canada.

"LifeLabs is committed to building a healthier Canada through the delivery of innovative testing services to patients and healthcare providers," said Jeff Sumner, Senior Vice President of Business Development, Clinical Affairs and Genetics at LifeLabs. "We are delighted to partner with Augurex to offer JOINTstat™ to Canadians. JOINTstat™ will help physicians diagnose and treat the many Canadians who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis."

The JOINTstat™ test measures 14-3-3eta, a protein involved in joint damage that leads to debilitation in patients with RA, a disease that affects one out of every 100 Canadians. High levels of 14-3-3eta protein indicate that the patient should be referred to a rheumatologist.

The development of 14-3-3eta is a true Canadian success story. The 14-3-3eta protein's role in arthritis was a collaborative discovery by researchers Dr. Walter Maksymowych at the University of Alberta and Drs. Aziz Ghahary and Ruhangiz Kilani at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Vancouver General Hospital. Augurex was founded on the licensed rights from UBC in October 2007 and has since developed as part of a 14-3-3eta "family" of technologies that serve as blood tests and drug treatment approaches to managing rheumatoid arthritis. JOINTstat™ has been evaluated in clinical studies in over 3,000 patients and has been available in the United States since late 2013.

"When diagnosed early, rheumatoid arthritis can be better managed with drug therapies, resulting in better outcomes by limiting disease progression. Current diagnostic tests are limited in their ability to catch the disease early," said Dr. Walter Maksymowych, Medical Research Professor of Medicine and Rheumatologist at the University of Alberta and co-discoverer of 14-3-3eta. "With the availability of JOINTstat™ in Canada, physicians now have the opportunity to treat rheumatoid arthritis early, prior to the onset of significant joint damage. This represents an important milestone towards the goal of personalized medicine."

As an exhibitor at the upcoming 2015 Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA) Annual Scientific Meeting in Québec City from February 4-7, LifeLabs will present JOINTstat™ data along with leading Canadian and international investigators that describe 14-3-3eta's role in the disease process and the clinical usefulness of its measurements for diagnosis, joint damage prognosis and monitoring.

JOINTstat™ specimen collection kits can be ordered by physicians in Canada by calling 1-877-990-1575 or by visiting our website at www.lifelabs.com/kits.aspx. The cost of the test is $75, which may be covered by private insurance.

About LifeLabs: www.LifeLabs.com

LifeLabs is a Canadian-owned company and is the country's largest provider of community laboratory services with over 50 years of experience providing laboratory testing services to help health care providers diagnose, treat, monitor and prevent disease in patients. In communities across British Columbia and Ontario, LifeLabs delivers cost-effective, convenient access to laboratory testing services which are essential for optimal outcomes in health care. LifeLabs employs approximately 5,400 professionally trained staff and delivers over 100 million laboratory tests, serving 19 million patient visits annually. In 2013, LifeLabs acquired BC Biomedical in British Columbia and CML HealthCare in Ontario making LifeLabs the largest community laboratory in Canada. LifeLabs is indirectly owned by OMERS Administration Corporation, whose interest is managed by Borealis Infrastructure.

About Borealis Infrastructure: www.borealis.ca.

Borealis Infrastructure is a leader in direct infrastructure investing with over a decade of investment experience. Borealis manages more than $11 billion in OMERS equity capital through investments in a diversified portfolio of large-scale infrastructure assets exhibiting stability and strong cash flows, in sectors including energy, transportation and social infrastructure. It has offices in Toronto, London, New York and Sydney. Borealis is the infrastructure investment arm of OMERS, one of Canada's largest pension funds with net assets of more than $65 billion and an AAA credit rating. For more information please visit www.borealis.ca or www.omers.com.

About Augurex Life Sciences Corp.: www.augurex.com and www.jointstat.com

Augurex is a biotechnology company that is focused on the development of biomarkers that can transform patient clinical management for better disease outcomes. Biomarkers are substances in the body that inform patient conditions and assist with early diagnosis, optimization of treatment and disease monitoring. Extracellular 14-3-3eta protein represents Augurex's first biomarker and also serves as a drug target for the personalized treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Augurex collaborates with international opinion-leading scientists to advance its clinical research and commercializes its products through innovative lab services companies to reach clinicians and patients who can benefit from them. JOINTstat™ is a registered trademark of Augurex Life Sciences Corp.

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