Bristol-Myers Squibb and Nordic Bioscience have agreed to work together to develop biomarkers for diagnosing and monitoring patients with fibrotic diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
IPF is a fatal, rare lung disease in which lung tissue and alveoli, tiny sacs in the lungs, become thick and scarred, or fibrotic. This ultimately compromises the transfer of oxygen between the lungs and bloodstream.
There is an urgent need for biomarkers that allow doctors to assess IPF activity and the disease’s response to treatments in clinical trials.
Nordic is a leader in developing, measuring, and validating the use of collagens, elastins and laminins as biomarkers of extracellular matrix activity.
The extracellular matrix consists of material that cells secrete to fill spaces between themselves and other cells. It includes proteins known as collagens, elastins, laminis, reticulins, glycoproteins, proteoglycans, and osteopontin.
Nordic invented a biomarker called C-terminal telopeptide (CTX), which can identify patients with osteoporosis who have a high rate of bone loss. CTX is also used to evaluate patients’ response to therapy.
“Addressing the significant need for better diagnostic and monitoring tools in fibrotic diseases is a key element of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s fibrosis strategy to help patients suffering from these debilitating conditions,” Mike Burgess, head of the company’s cardiovascular, fibrosis and immunoscience development arm, said in a press release.
“We continue to invest in innovative approaches to develop more precise methods to diagnose disease and monitor progression, and we are pleased to partner with Nordic Bioscience and leverage their vast experience in biomarker development,” Burgess added.
Under the agreement, the companies will also work together to develop biomarkers for another fibrotic disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH. It is caused by liver inflammation that stems from a build-up of fat in the liver. No approved treatments exist for it.
“There is a big unmet need in medical and drug development for simple non-invasive diagnostic, early proof of efficacy of intervention and prognostic biomarkers in the NASH field. Nordic Bioscience is very proud to enter into this collaboration which will benefit the fibrosis field by advancing the research in fibrosis biomarkers for the benefit of patients,” said Nordic CEO Morten Karsdal.