Precision medicine platform aims to link ‘right patient’ to ‘right medicine’

Taxonomy3 analyzes data to find genetically-defined subgroups, new therapeutic targets

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by Mary Chapman |

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C4X Discovery (C4XD) has launched PatientSeek, a precision medicine platform that can help identify which people, including those with Parkinson’s disease, will likely benefit most from new therapies, based on their genetics.

The launch follows a research collaboration with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Australia, which validated the patient stratification platform. Patient stratification refers to the division of a patient population into subgroups based on the absence or presence of certain characteristics.

The collaboration showed that PatientSeek, powered by C4XD’s Taxonomy3 technology, could identify a subgroup of Parkinson’s patients who responded to therapy in a previous Phase 3 trial that had failed to meet its main goal. This relied on C4XD providing the genetic signatures for its PatientSeek Parkinson’s subgroups.

Taxonomy3 uses proprietary mathematical algorithms to analyze genetic data and enable identification of new therapeutic targets and genetically-defined patient subgroups, “providing the best starting point for drug discovery, biomarker identification and patient stratification,” the company said on its website.

“Our new PatientSeek platform is the result of a successful Taxonomy3 collaboration with Garvan Institute,” said Clare Murray, PhD, C4XD’s senior vice president of drug discovery, in a company press release. “Taxonomy3 has historically been used for target identification, but this study clearly demonstrates the potential to use PatientSeek to apply our unique mathematical approach to stratify patients for novel treatments based on their genetics.”

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PatientSeek’s promising initial results could potentially pave the way for new approaches to Parkinson’s patient stratification, optimize selection for clinical trials, and ultimately accelerate the therapy discovery process. Study results will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

“C4XD has already identified PatientSeek subgroups in immuno-inflammatory disease and we will be exploring their application in bringing precision medicine approaches in these patient populations,” Murray said.

“This is a very important result which not only demonstrates that subgroups derived with PatientSeek are clinically relevant, but also reaffirms the important role that genetics play in Parkinson’s disease, including response to treatment,” Antony Cooper, PhD, associate professor and head of the neurodegeneration and neurogenomics laboratory at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that’s thought to arise from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Symptoms and disease progression can vary greatly between patients, making it difficult for a “one-size fits all” therapeutic approach and crucial to find ways to “identify the right patient for the right medicine.”

“We will now focus on the mechanistic understanding of the differences between the patient subgroups identified to accelerate our understanding of the disease [variability] observed in Parkinson’s disease,” said Cooper, who is also the research director of the Australian Parkinson’s Mission. “These findings have wide-reaching implications for patients, clinicians, and researchers, and have advanced a key goal of the Australian Parkinson’s Mission of expanding precision medicine approaches to identify effective therapeutics for people with Parkinson’s disease.”

Richard Wyse, MD, director of clinical development at Cure Parkinson’s, called the finding an “important milestone in bringing precision medicine to patients.”

Parkinson’s patient stratification approaches “could inform clinical trial design, better select patients for their likelihood to be responders to specific therapeutics and help enable development of companion diagnostics,” Wyse said.