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Owlstone Medical, Actelion Pharmaceuticals Partner to Develop Pulmonary Hypertension Breath Test

NEW YORK (360Dx) – Owlstone Medical today announced a strategic collaboration with Actelion Pharmaceuticals to develop a breath-based test for the early diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension (PH) and its subtypes.

San Francisco, California-based Actelion, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, is funding the development program.

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Owlstone Medical said that the collaboration will involve collecting breath-exhaled volatile organic compounds from more than 1,000 patients at sites in the US, UK, and other countries in the European Union, using its ReCiva sampling device.

The Cambridge, UK-based company said it will analyze the volatile organic compounds to identify those that are associated with pulmonary hypertension to develop a biomarker signature, or signatures, that can help facilitate earlier detection of the disease.

The strategic collaboration with Actelion presents an opportunity for Owlstone to support its objective of improving the early diagnosis of disease through the application of breath biopsy, Owlstone Medical Cofounder and CEO Billy Boyle said in a statement.

PH is difficult to diagnose early, and "screening has to be simple, reliable, and cost effective," he said, adding that Owlstone Medical anticipates that its breath biopsy technology will enable a program that moves from discovery to the launch of a PH test in the market.

PH is a progressive cardiopulmonary disease in which blood pressure increases in the vessels that transport blood from the heart to the lungs, placing strain on the right side of the heart and often leading to heart failure.

Even when PH is at an advanced stage it presents similar to other heart and lung conditions, and a delay of years between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis and treatment is common, Owlstone said.