BOSTON, Dec. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- BERG, a biopharmaceutical company that merges biology with technology to map the nature of diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) today announced a research partnership to enhance the understanding of neurological disease pathology and to develop novel biomarker strategies for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.
Under the terms of the collaboration, MGH and BWH will provide access to a longitudinal collection of clinically annotated patient-derived biospecimens from the Harvard biomarker study. On analysis of this unique repository, the BERG Interrogative Biology® platform will provide a comprehensive insight into the molecular basis and progression of Alzheimer's disease, providing novel avenues for diagnostic and therapeutic development. The BERG Interrogative Biology® platform integrates extensive patient multiomics profiling with in-depth artificial intelligence analysis to streamline biomarker discovery.
"The neurodegenerative discovery program at BERG has made significant progress towards understanding the molecular basis of neurological diseases. We are excited to work with MGH and BWH to further this research and to collaborate on the potential development of novel treatments for neurological diseases like Alzheimer's disease," said Niven R. Narain, BERG's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Through this agreement, we can address the significant unmet need to improve detection, diagnosis, and stratification of neurological diseases and speed earlier clinical intervention, which is especially important in the asymptomatic molecular stages through the early dementia phase of Alzheimer's disease."
"The Harvard Biomarkers Study is a powerful incubator for biomarkers discovery and precision neurology. This longitudinal biobank can speed up the biomarker test cycle from years to weeks. It comprises more than 2,500 participants, including patients at the earliest stages of cognitive decline," said Clemens Scherzer, MD, who co-founded the study and who heads the Neurogenomics Lab and Precision Neurology Program of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
"BERG's artificial intelligence technology provides novel perspectives of neurological disease and creates a unique platform for validation and development of new drug targets and biomarkers for diseases such as Alzheimer's disease," said Steven E. Arnold, M.D., Translational Neurology Head, Interdisciplinary Brain Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. "Alzheimer's disease is a devastating illness for patients and their families, and MGH looks forward to working with BERG to help identify new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to tackling this enigmatic degenerative disease."
BERG's current clinical pipeline consists of therapeutics, as well as complementary diagnostics, that support clinical development in the areas of oncology, neurology and endocrinology. BERG's neurodegenerative discovery program is an important research focus for the company. BERG recently announced a research collaboration with AstraZeneca to identify and evaluate novel therapeutic targets to treat Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders.
About Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer 's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a progressive cognitive, functional and behavioral decline with interrelated molecular, physiological and anatomical dimensions. More than 5.1 million people in the United States suffer from Alzheimer's, and these numbers are expected to grow rapidly in the near future. The baby boomer generation, which includes those age 65 and older, represent the greatest population at risk of Alzheimer's, with a projected patient population of 13.8 million by 2050.
About Brigham and Women's Hospital
Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is a 793-bed nonprofit teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a founding member of Partners HealthCare. BWH has more than 4.2 million annual patient visits and nearly 46,000 inpatient stays, is the largest birthing center in Massachusetts and employs nearly 16,000 people. The Brigham's medical preeminence dates back to 1832, and today that rich history in clinical care is coupled with its national leadership in patient care, quality improvement and patient safety initiatives, and its dedication to research, innovation, community engagement and educating and training the next generation of health care professionals. Through investigation and discovery conducted at its Brigham Research Institute (BRI), BWH is an international leader in basic, clinical and translational research on human diseases, more than 3,000 researchers, including physician-investigators and renowned biomedical scientists and faculty supported by nearly $666 million in funding. For the last 25 years, BWH ranked second in research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) among independent hospitals. BWH is also home to major landmark epidemiologic population studies, including the Nurses' and Physicians' Health Studies and the Women's Health Initiative as well as the TIMI Study Group, one of the premier cardiovascular clinical trials groups. For more information, resources and to follow us on social media, please visit BWH's online newsroom.
About Massachusetts General Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH Research Institute conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the nation, with an annual research budget of more than $850 million and major research centers in HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, genomic medicine, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, reproductive biology, systems biology, photomedicine and transplantation biology. MGH topped the 2015 Nature Index list of healthcare organizations publishing in leading scientific journals and earned the prestigious 2015 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service. In August 2017, MGH was once again named to the Honor Roll in the U.S. News & World Report list of "America's Best Hospitals."
BERG is a clinical-stage company disrupting and re-defining the approach to drug discovery, research and development through its Interrogative Biology® platform. Its platform identifies therapies and biomarkers by applying algorithm- and probability-based artificial intelligence to analyze large numbers of patients' genotypic, phenotypic and other characteristics. BERG's platform operates at the intersection of biology, technology and artificial intelligence analytics and integrates many data characteristics regarding patients' lifestyles, demographics and biology. BERG believes this allows the company to better understand patients' disease profiles and consequently to identify and reveal molecular signatures to guide and accelerate product candidate selection and development. By identifying biomarkers and patient characteristics that are unique to the disease state, BERG is able to identify novel therapeutic product candidates and develop companion diagnostics to enhance specificity in its drug development process. BERG has leveraged its Interrogative Biology® platform to develop a robust pipeline of therapeutic product candidates and diagnostics in cancer, diabetes and neurology.
For additional information, please visit www.BERGhealth.com.
Tola St. Matthew-Daniel