Prionics AG and PrioSense Join Forces in the Development of the First Diagnostic Live Test for Mad Cow and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Apr 30, 2002, 01:00 ET from Prionics AG

    ZURICH, Switzerland and JERUSALEM, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Prionics AG,
 the world leader in prion diagnostics, and PrioSense, a newly founded spin-off
 company of Hadasit at the Hadassah University Medical Centre in Jerusalem,
 have started the joint development of a live test for prion diseases.  The
 test is based on the recent discovery of disease associated prion protein in
 the urine of both animals infected with BSE and humans infected with
 Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD).
     "Current diagnostic screening tests can only be used for post mortem
 diagnosis of the disease as they require brain tissue for analysis," explains
 Dr. Ruth Gabizon who is directing the research at PrioSense. "The new urine
 based test provides reliable early indicators of the prion disease."  It will
 for the first time facilitate screening of live animals and humans for prion
     The joint research project of Prionics and the Israeli scientists is based
 on a previous co-operation in an EU project. In this project the research unit
 at Hadassah University led by Ruth Gabizon had succeeded in demonstrating for
 the first time the existence of disease associated prion protein in urine of
 humans and cattle.
     "We are very excited about the new range of applications for prion
 testing, particularly in the field of human medicine", says Dr. Bruno Oesch,
 CEO and Head of Research at Prionics. "For years we thought that live tests
 might not be possible based on the direct detection of prion proteins in body
 fluids, but might require testing of less reliable third markers. The prion
 protein correlates 100% with disease and therefore facilitates the highest
 accuracy in diagnosis of BSE and CJD."
     "We are delighted to formally partner with Prionics," said Dr. Raphael
 Hofstein, managing Director of Hadasit and Director at PrioSense. "It is an
 honour to work with a company that is internationally recognised for its
 competence in prion diagnostics as well as for its technological and marketing
     :: About Prionics
     The Swiss company Prionics AG is the global leader in the early diagnosis
 of prion diseases. The company is renowned for revealing the extent of the mad
 cow disease spread in Europe with their BSE tests. The company has evolved
 into the worlds leading centre of competence for prion diagnostics. Research
 and Development projects in the fields of neurology and prion diseases are the
 business fields in which Prionics is active. Prionics' research team is part
 of a network of prion specialists and leading neuroscientists from all over
 the world.
     :: About PrioSense
     The seminal work of Dr. Ruth Gabizon at Hadassah University has led to the
 foundation of the spin-off company PrioSense. In 2001, the investment company
 Wolfson-Clore-Mayer provided Hadasit Ltd. (see below) with the initial
 investment to establish the company, with the express purpose of pursuing the
 research, development and marketing of innovative diagnostic and therapeutic
 products for the control and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
     :: About Hadasit Ltd.
     Hadasit Medical Research Services and Development Ltd. promotes and
 markets the intellectual property generated by the Hadassah Medical
 Organisation (HMO), a leading medical and research institution in Israel.
 Hadasit utilises the expertise, technologies and patents produced by Hadassah
 research teams in the fields of medical biotechnology, medical devices and
 medical diagnostics for commercial purposes. Hadasit has already established
 more than a dozen start-up companies, obtained patents on over 200 new
 concepts and is actively involved in preparing numerous research projects for
 presentation to the marketplace.

SOURCE Prionics AG