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Exagen, Allegheny Health Network Research and Autoimmunity Institutes Partner on Autoimmune Tests

NEW YORK – Exagen announced on Tuesday that it has entered a research collaboration and exclusive license agreement with the Allegheny Health Network Research Institute and the AHN Autoimmunity Institute.

The partnership is focused on the development of novel patented biomarkers for the diagnosis, prognosis, and monitoring of autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus. Under the agreement, Exagen will acquire a worldwide exclusive license to four families of inventions from the laboratory of Joseph Ahearn and Susan Manzi, who helped design Exagen's flagship Avise tests, along with access to the Autoimmunity Institute's clinical biobank.

In a statement, Exagen said the partners will "mutually invest in the collaborative development of the patents, leading to the development and commercialization of a suite of novel biomarker assays that were developed using a specialized technology known as CB-CAPS or 'Cell-Bound Complement Activation Products.'" Exagen's current Avise tests also use CB-CAPS technology.

According to Exagen's website, CB-CAPS are hydrolyzed complement activation products bound to circulating cells and may be a potential source for lupus biomarkers.

The tests to be developed as part of the new agreement will add clarity to the clinical evaluation of suspected autoimmune patients who might have lupus, the company added.

"We are excited to once again work with Dr. AhearnDr. Manzi and the AHN Autoimmunity Institute to accelerate development of their highly innovative biomarker assays to better serve patients with autoimmune disorders and address the disparity in medical treatment of women and people of color," Ron Rocca, Exagen's president and CEO, said in a statement.

The AHN Autoimmunity Institute, led by Ahearn, was established in 2018 to advance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of and cure for autoimmune diseases "through collaborative multi-specialty care, cutting-edge research, advocacy, and education," Exagen said.