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Quest Diagnostics, Zora Biosciences Sign Licensing Agreement for Cardiovascular Biomarkers

NEW YORK — Diagnostics company Zora Biosciences said on Monday it has signed a non-exclusive license agreement for its ceramide biomarker technology with Quest Diagnostics.

Quest plans to develop a test using Espoo, Finland-based Zora's ceramide technology for identifying patients at risk of cardiovascular conditions and death. Secaucus, New Jersey-based Quest said it aims to begin offering the test through its Cardiometabolic Center of Excellence at Cleveland HeartLab as soon as next year.

Ceramides are a type of lipid present in blood that research has indicated can provide information on an individual's risk of cardiovascular events independent of their LDL-cholesterol status. Zora currently offers a ceramide-based test called CERT in Finland and plans to expand its availability across Europe. It aims to move into the US via the license deal with Quest.

"Zora's ceramide-based technology can take cardiovascular testing beyond LDL cholesterol to the next level of precision in cardiovascular diagnostics," Zora CEO Reini Hurme, said in a statement. "Our relationship with Quest Diagnostics is a significant stepping stone for Zora by giving our test potentially wide access to the United States, where heart disease is a critical healthcare issue."

"The data supporting the use of ceramides show its potential to identify patients at risk for recurrent heart attacks and death before they occur. With these insights, providers and patients can take more aggressive preventative measures to reduce risk, improve outcomes, and lower healthcare costs," said Mouris Saghir, vice president, general manager of Quest's cardiovascular metabolic and endocrine franchise. "Ceramide-based lab services would complement and extend our industry-leading menu of cardiometabolic tests, which is focused on empowering providers and patients with insights to identify the potential for adverse events at their earliest, most treatable stages."

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.