Metabolon to Work with Mayo Clinic on New Diagnostic Tests

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Morrisville-based Metabolon will collaborate with Mayo Clinic to develop novel metabolomic biomarkers for detecting various diseases.

Under a joint development agreement announced this week, Metabolon will analyze Mayo Clinic patient clinical samples to look for disease biomarkers that Mayo will use in new diagnostic tests at its nationwide Mayo Clinic Laboratories.

The two partners said they would initially focus on metabolite biomarkers indicating inflammatory bowel disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Additional potential collaborations may focus on biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, inflammatory arthritis and others.

"We are incredibly excited to be working with Mayo Clinic, as they bring significant clinical strength and robust commercialization capabilities to this vital research,” said Rohan Hastie, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Metabolon. "Collaborating with Mayo Clinic has the potential to help both parties expand their cutting-edge research into the critical role of metabolomic biomarkers as valuable indicators of human health."

Hastie noted that Mayo Clinic Laboratories is the third-largest reference and diagnostics lab in the United States, performing over 25 million tests each year. The organization offers over 3,800 diagnostic tests and pathology services to doctors and hospitals, and processes up to 40,000 patient specimens daily, according to its website.

Metabolomics a window on health

Metabolomics, the large-scale study of all small molecules in a biological system, provides a complete readout of that system’s function. Metabolomics helps researchers see beyond the genetic variation of individuals, capturing the combined impact of genetic as well as external factors such as the effect of drugs, diet, lifestyle and the microbiome on human health.

By measuring thousands of discrete chemical signals that form biological pathways in the body, metabolomics can reveal important biomarkers, enabling a better understanding of a drug's mechanism of action, pharmacodynamics, and safety profile, as well as individual responses to therapy.

Since its founding in 2000, Metabolon has performed over 10,000 projects for 1,300 clients, and its work has been included in over 2,800 publications. The company delivers biochemical data and insights to support life sciences research and offers scalable, customizable metabolomics and lipidomics solutions from discovery through clinical trials and product life-cycle management.

In 2010 the North Carolina Biotechnology Center awarded Metabolon funding for a two-year industrial fellowship, which provided opportunities for Ph.D. scientists from the state’s many prestigious universities to gain valuable industry-based experience. The program was ended in 2013.

Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer
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