Nicox S.A. (NYSE Euronext Paris: COX), the international ophthalmic company, and Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: SQNM), a life sciences company providing innovative genetic analysis solutions, today announced that Nicox's subsidiary, Nicox Inc. is launching expanded access to Sequenom Laboratories' RetnaGene™ portfolio of laboratory-developed genetic tests in the United States (U.S.). The RetnaGene portfolio includes RetnaGene AMD and RetnaGene LR, specialized genetic tests, which assess an individual's risk for advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
"Expanding access to the RetnaGene portfolio of tests is an important milestone in the progress of the Nicox Ophthalmic Diagnostics franchise in the U.S.," commented Jerry St. Peter, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Nicox Inc. "AMD is a leading cause of blindness in the U.S. and is estimated to affect over 15 million Americans, including 10 to 15% suffering from an advanced form of the disease.1,2 The RetnaGene tests allow for improved patient management, by examining the most relevant genetic markers for a more accurate prediction of advanced AMD risk. Both the RetnaGene tests and our groundbreaking test for the early detection of Sjogren's syndrome, Sjo™, will be supported by our rapidly expanding specialist sales force."
RetnaGene™ – A portfolio of laboratory-developed tests that advances AMD risk assessment
AMD is the most common cause of visual impairment and the leading cause of blindness in the elderly population in the developed world. The RetnaGene portfolio includes two laboratory-developed genetic tests performed exclusively by Sequenom Laboratories that evaluate an individual's risk of advanced AMD. The RetnaGene AMD test assesses the risk for wet AMD (also called choroidal neovascularization, CNV) within two, five and ten years in patients aged 55 and older with early or intermediate dry AMD. The RetnaGene™ LR test assesses the lifetime risk of advanced AMD (wet or dry) in patients who have not been diagnosed with AMD, aged 55 and older and/or with a family history of AMD. The RetnaGene tests evaluate genotype and other known risk factors, giving a more complete assessment of a patient's individual risk for developing advanced AMD than with current phenotype-based standards.
"Currently there is much debate in the medical community surrounding the best way to incorporate genetic testing for AMD into clinical practice. Expanded access to the RetnaGene tests will provide broader use and education to clinicians about this important technology," said Quan Dong Nguyen, MD, MSc, who holds the McGaw Memorial Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology and is the Inaugural Director of the Truhlsen Eye Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center.
In January 2014, Sequenom Laboratories granted Nicox Inc. exclusive promotion and marketing rights for its RetnaGene tests. Nicox Inc. has significantly strengthened its field force to support the expanded access of the RetnaGene portfolio, which is now available to its customers in the U.S.
"We believe the new offering of the RetnaGene tests by Nicox will help to fuel the momentum in the field while also developing enhanced opportunities for clinical trials and research to continue to investigate the utility of genetic testing services for AMD," said Diana Do, MD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of the Carl Camras Center for Innovative Clinical Research in Ophthalmology at the Truhlsen Eye Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Both RetnaGene tests offer a quick and simple method for collecting DNA specimens with an easy-to-use in-office buccal swab. The RetnaGene tests were developed, validated and are performed exclusively by Sequenom Laboratories and are available through contract with Nicox. U.S. eye care practitioners can obtain more information and order specimen collection materials for the RetnaGene test by calling +1.855.MY.NICOX (+1.855.696.4269). Additional information can be found on Nicox's new website specifically intended for a U.S. audience: www.mynicox.com. The Nicox Inc. team will be available at the Optometry's Meeting® (117th Annual AOA Congress & 44th Annual AOSA Conference) being held from June 25 to 29, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to discuss its ophthalmic diagnostics offering, including RetnaGene™ and Sjo™ (booth number: 1630).
"We are pleased with the timely progress of our partnership with Nicox and we are confident in Nicox's ability to successfully expand access to the RetnaGene portfolio of tests in the ophthalmic arena in the U.S.," stated William Welch, Chief Executive Officer of Sequenom, Inc.