Exagen Diagnostics Forms Advisory Board to Guide Development of Hepatitis C Prognostic Products

Sep 13, 2004, 01:00 ET from Exagen Diagnostics, Inc.

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Sept.13 /PRNewswire/ -- Exagen Diagnostics, Inc., an
 emerging leader in the rapid identification and productization of practical,
 genomic markers for prognostic testing, today announced that it has formed an
 advisory board to provide input on the company's genomic marker programs and
 clinical trials that impact treatment and management of hepatitis C infection
 (HCV).  The board consists of four physicians, all of whom are among the
 nation's leading experts in the clinical assessment of new therapeutic
 alternatives for HCV.
     "We have initiated clinical discovery studies to define the best genomic
 markers for HCV prognostic testing.  These markers will identify those
 patients most likely to benefit from treatment with interferon and ribviran
 and those at greatest risk of liver damage," said Waneta Tuttle, Ph.D., Exagen
 president and CEO.  "We are very pleased to be working closely with this
 outstanding group of physicians to ensure the utmost effectiveness of the
 programs and trials we undertake for HCV."
     Members of Exagen's advisory board include:
      *  Sanjeev Arora, M.D., FACP, advisory board chairperson, and executive
         vice chairman, department of internal medicine, at University of New
         Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNMHSC).  Since 2001, he has served as
         principal investigator for more than 17 clinical trials focused on
         ribaviran treatment for chronic HCV.
      *  Michael Fried, M.D., professor of medicine and director of hepatology
         at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Dr. Fried has
         been the principal investigator on numerous Phase I, II and III
         clinical trials of various antiviral agents for chronic hepatitis B
         and C.
      *  Robert Gish, M.D., divisional director of the Division of Hepatology
         and Complex GI at California Pacific Medical Center and medical
         director of the Liver Transplant Program at CPMC.  He also serves as
         associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of
         California, San Francisco.  Since 1985, he has served as principle
         investigator for more than 50 research studies focused on various
         treatment methods for hepatitis B and C.
      *  Paul Pockros, M.D., division head, Gastroenterology/Hepatology at
         Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif.  He currently practices general
         gastroenterology and has a special interest in liver disease.  He is a
         principal or co-investigator in a large number of clinical trials for
         treatment of chronic liver disease, especially for hepatitis B and C.
     "We are pleased to help guide Exagen by providing input regarding unmet
 needs for prognostic tests," said Dr. Arora.  "Exagen's work has the potential
 to significantly advance HCV disease management, benefiting patients and
 helping guide physicians in the future."
     The number of people infected with HCV worldwide is approaching
 200 million, including four million people in the United States.  HCV accounts
 for up to half of all cases of cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease and liver
 cancer.  The standard regimen of interferon and ribavirin is costly and
 plagued by side effects.
     About Exagen Diagnostics, Inc.
     As an emerging leader in prognostic testing, Exagen Diagnostics is
 uniquely able to define small sets of genomic markers that are more accurate
 than other approaches, whether for breast cancer, infectious disease or other
 indications.  Exagen's proprietary discovery and implementation technologies
 enable the rapid identification and productization of optimized DNA or RNA
 genomic marker sets for prognostic or predictive testing, either for
 diagnostic testing by reference laboratories or for pharmaceutical R&D
 purposes.  For more information, visit www.exagendiagnostics.com.

SOURCE Exagen Diagnostics, Inc.