US-based Amarantus BioSciences has licensed the NuroPro blood test from Power3 Medical Products.

The NuroPro blood test is designed for the early detection of neurodegenerative diseases and to monitor their progression. Power3’s diagnostic platform involves monitoring the concentration of 57 protein markers in blood serum to detect and distinguish between Alzheimer’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and Parkinson’s disease.

Amarantus’s licence is mainly focused to further develop a subset of 21 of these protein markers specifically targeting early diagnosis and ongoing monitoring of Parkinson’s disease. Under the terms of the agreement, Amarantus has gained a licence to develop, manufacture, use, market, sell and import medical devices and methods under Power3’s Parkinson’s disease intellectual property (IP). The licence also provides Amarantus with knowledge of Power3’s patents and patent applications relating to medical devices and methods for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease relating to Parkinson’s disease.

The NuroPro blood test has completed proof-of-concept and Phase I clinical validation studies. Amarantus plans to start a Phase II clinical validation study in the first half of 2012, which is expected to last for approximately six months. Management of the trial will be partnered by Power3 as part of its ongoing strategy to build its clinical research organisation business unit.

Amarantus BioSciences president and CEO Gerald Commissiong said the in-licence of the NuroPro Blood Test for Parkinson’s disease expands the product offering as they strive to become the leader in the evaluation and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. "Now that we will be able to tailor our therapeutic development pathway towards a companion diagnostic product that we control, Amarantus is positioned to build a strategic advantage over competitors as the execution of our clinical and regulatory strategy continues to advance mesencephalic-astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) as a disease-modifying treatment for Parkinson’s disease," he added.

MANF is a therapeutic protein that corrects protein misfolding, one of the major causes of apoptosis (cell death).