In controlled clinical trials, patients taking a Roche anti-amyloid drug candidate for Alzheimer's disease will be monitored clinically for drug response using GE's positron emission tomography (PET) diagnostic imaging agent. This proprietary PET technology measures and tracks levels of beta-amyloid, a form of brain plaque believed to cause memory loss in Alzheimer's disease patients. Previously, the presence of plaque could only be confirmed during autopsy.
GE made a much-trumpeted move into personalised medicine when it acquired UK biotechnology company Amersham in 2003. The aim is to apply technology across the spectrum of medicine, from the prediction and location of disease, through to profiling, treatment and tracking of response, to bring forward the concept of individualised medicine.
In the collaboration, both Roche and GE will independently analyse patient data to monitor the progression of the disease and then share information to validate the efficacy of both the therapeutic product and the diagnostic tool. The data gathered will aid both companies in submitting necessary and comprehensive data to regulatory authorities for approvals.
"This collaboration is an early step in experimental medicine," said Peter Hug, Roche's global head of pharma partnering. "Using GE's innovative technology allows Roche to test the efficacy of our product more accurately than was previously possible, which in the long term, will help us efficiently advance through clinical development, potentially helping patients sooner."
Bill Clarke, chief technology and medical officer at GE Healthcare, said the agreement demonstrates how medical equipment and pharmaceutical companies are increasingly collaborating to develop more effective and safer treatments.
"The collaboration between Roche and GE should allow clinicians to identify effective treatments earlier for this debilitating disease," he said.