A World-First in Genomics, a Saliva Test to Predict Complications Associated with Type 2 Diabetes, Powered by an Important Public-Private Partnership
Press Release – For Immediate Release
Montreal, January 15, 20234 — A new agreement has been signed between OPTITHERA, ELNA Medical Group, and Génome Québec as part of Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP). This partnership will ensure the final steps required to bring to market the first-ever genomic test predicting the risk of diabetic complications.
The significant $12.8-million investment in this new public-private partnership attests to the project’s innovative nature and its potential socio-economic impact on the Canadian healthcare system. Titled “Predict to Prevent: A Novel Genomic-Derived Score to Enhance the Prognosis of Type 2 (T2) Diabetes Patients at High Risk of Complications”, the initiative represents a pioneering advancement in precision medicine. Spearheaded by a team led by Dr. Pavel Hamet and Dr. Johanne Tremblay, distinguished researchers associated with the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM), the project stands as a breakthrough collaboration with OPTITHERA.
In 2022, over four million Canadians (i.e., 10 per cent of the population) were estimated to be living with diabetes, a medical condition that increases the risk of serious cardiovascular and renal complications, significantly impacting patients’ quality of life and resulting in costs of approximately $30 billion for our healthcare system.
Through genomic information and artificial intelligence (AI), we can now predict the risk of complications even before the onset of the earliest symptoms. Better prediction of the risk of developing complications will facilitate timely and effective treatment for high-risk patients.
“Our genomic risk prediction test is thoroughly researched and has already been validated to help identify people at higher risk of developing a number of cardiorenal complications associated with T2 diabetes, such as myocardial infarction, stroke and diabetic nephropathy,” says Dr. Pavel Hamet, Professor at the University of Montreal and Founding President of OPTITHERA, a company specializing in precision medicine and clinical applications of innovative technologies. Dr. Hamet is also a recipient of the Order of Canada.
“Having demonstrated the effectiveness of our genomic test in predicting diabetic nephropathy, we are now in the final stage before this test is brought to market. We need to evaluate the impact of this innovation in Canadian clinical settings directly with diabetic patients and their physicians, as well as assess its potential implications for the healthcare system in terms of reducing the economic burden of treating T2 diabetes,” adds Dr. Hamet.
“At ELNA Medical Group, innovation lies at the core of our mission, and we take immense pride in our strategic alliance with OPTITHERA. This collaboration on a ground-breaking advancement stands as a substantial investment, poised to unquestionably enhance the overall health of Canadians,” affirms Laurent Amram, President and Founder of ELNA Medical Group, the largest network of medical clinics in Canada.
“The extensive expertise and clinical research experience of our diagnostic laboratory division, along with our national network of clinics, will allow us to exclusively offer this innovative test to the Canadian population,” concludes Mr. Amram.
To date, nearly 600 genomic variants associated with cardiovascular and renal disease in more than a million people have been selected for the project. A risk prediction model was developed by analyzing the clinical and genetic data of participants from 17 countries included in the ADVANCE trial, one of the largest clinical studies in the world for patients with diabetes.
After many years of intensive research and following a series of evaluations to demonstrate its adoption and effectiveness at CHUM and ELNA Medical Group’s clinics, OPTITHERA and ELNA Medical will soon be able to offer Canadians with diabetes this unique and effective test for predicting their risk of developing complications associated with the condition.
OPTITHERA and ELNA Medical Group thank Genome Canada and Génome Québec for their support.
OPTITHERA was founded in 2014 by the Société de valorisation du CHUM and Dr. Pavel Hamet. OPTITHERA is a precision medicine company specializing in the development and clinical applications of innovative technologies in the field of diabetes. Using genomics and artificial intelligence, OPTITHERA has developed a simple genomic test that is able to tell an attending physician whether or not a particular T2 diabetes patient is at risk for developing complications of the disease. For more information, visit: optithera.com.
About ELNA Medical Group
ELNA Medical Group is Canada’s largest network of medical clinics. Serving more than 1.6 million Canadians every year, ELNA is transforming the future of healthcare delivery and continuity of care by building a fully integrated omnichannel ecosystem. Always striving to improve patient outcomes and optimize access to quality healthcare, ELNA provides unparalleled support to healthcare professionals by leveraging cutting-edge technologies powered by AI and strategic partnerships with global healthcare leaders. ELNA complements its vast medical offering with access to high-quality diagnostic services, thanks to its wholly owned subsidiary CDL Laboratories, a leader in medical testing for over three decades. For more information, visit: elnamedical.com.
About Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP)
The GAPP supports industry-facing public-private partnered research projects that address real-world challenges. Designed to accelerate the social and economic impact of genomics in Canada, GAPP provides the space for research, innovation and application to thrive collaboratively. GAPP projects stimulate public- and private-sector investments in Canadian genomics technologies, advancing technology uptake in receptors, moving technologies across readiness levels and accelerating adoption.
For more information : genomecanada.ca/funding/genomic-applications-partnership-program/.
About the CHUM Research Centre (CRCHUM)
The Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CRCHUM) is one of the main hospital research centres in North America. Its mission is to improve adult health through a continuum of research covering disciplines such as basic sciences, clinical research, and public health. About 2120 people work at the CRCHUM, including more than 550 researchers and more than 500 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. For more information, visit: chumontreal.qc.ca/en/crchum
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