Takeda Joins the HRP Initiative to Discover Biomarkers of High-Risk Atherosclerotic Plaque
Atherosclerotic plaque is the underlying cause of most heart attacks and strokes, which together are the most prevalent causes of morbidity and mortality in the Western world and increasingly across the globe. Scientific evidence gathered over the past decade has pointed to a two-phase development of atherosclerotic vascular disease. The first phase which starts in early adulthood and continues throughout life is characterized by gradual plaque build-up. Plasma cholesterol levels and other risk factors play an important role in rate of plaque build-up. The second phase, which occurs in some individuals, is characterized by local inflammation and weakening of certain plaque segments which may lead to rupture of the plaque, which can result in an acute heart-attack or stroke. There are currently no practical means to identify who carries this often deadly form of disease, and thus the focus of the HRP Initiative on finding ways to reliably identify these individuals through imaging or blood tests before the first event will enable the development of novel treatments and would have a major impact on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
"The HRP initiative continues to gain momentum as illustrated by Takeda joining forces with Merck, AstraZeneca, Philips and BG Medicine" said Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D., a leading international cardiologist and chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for the HRP Initiative and principal investigator of the HRP BioImage Study. "Recent reports on the limitations of measuring cholesterol as a risk predictor underscore the importance of the HRP initiative to discover and develop novel imaging and blood biomarkers of actual disease." In addition to his work with the HRP Initiative, Dr. Fuster serves as director of the Zena and Michael A. Wiener Cardiovascular Institute and the Marie-Josee and Henry R. Kravis Center for Cardiovascular Health and Director of Mount Sinai Heart Hospital.
"With its recently initiated BioImage study, a 6,000-patient 3-year prospective cardiovascular outcome study, and through collaboration with major epidemiological research projects such as Framingham and the Copenhagen Heart Study, the HRP initiative is uniquely positioned for discovery as well as validation of biomarkers of atherosclerotic disease." said Dr. Masaomi Miyamoto, General Manager of Takeda's Pharmaceutical Development Division. "By joining the HRP initiative, Takeda hopes to facilitate the development of such markers to help doctors diagnose patients earlier and more accurately in order to prevent atherosclerosis-related events and to develop novel more effective treatments."
The HRP Initiative collaborator companies share responsibility for the overall planning and governance of the HRP research activities; they also provide funding for the Initiative in exchange for certain rights to project data, materials and other intellectual property.
About the High-Risk Plaque Initiative
The HRP Initiative aims to collaborate on the discovery and development of improved techniques for identifying individuals at risk for heart attacks and the advancement of methods to monitor disease progression and response to treatment. The Initiative expects to provide a total of $30 million in funding over four years and will leverage recent advances in biology and technology to design and optimize a patient care-cycle for high-risk plaque. Currently, Merck, AstraZeneca, Philips and Takeda have joined biotechnology research company BG Medicine in this important initiative which aims to reduce morbidity, mortality and costs associated with cardiovascular disease.
About BG Medicine
BG Medicine is a life sciences company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel molecular diagnostics based on biomarkers to improve patient outcomes and contain healthcare costs. BG Medicine discovers biomarkers and is developing its diagnostic product candidates using its proprietary, versatile, and scalable technology platform which integrates and automates the precise measurement, analysis, characterization and interpretation of proteins, and metabolites collected from bodily fluids.
Located in Osaka, Japan, Takeda is a research-based global company with its main focus on pharmaceuticals. As the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and one of the global leaders of the industry, Takeda is committed to striving toward better health for individuals and progress in medicine by developing superior pharmaceutical products. Additional information about Takeda is available through its corporate website, www.takeda.com.
Feinstein Kean Healthcare
Fintan R. Steele, Ph.D., 617-761-6797
Posted: April 2008