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QMC Health Nabs Biomarker Rights for Long COVID Test

NEW YORK — QMC Health said Tuesday it secured exclusive rights to develop a blood-based Long COVID assay based on biomarkers identified at Lawson Health Research Institute in Ontario.

The Austin, Texas-based company, which is a subsidiary of Quantum Materials, said the agreement with Lawson, a hospital-based research institute, will allow development of a rapid test for use on the firm's QDX High-Performance Fluorescent Immuno-Sensors instrument. Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

QMC Health said researchers at Lawson recently discovered the biomarkers and published their findings in October in Molecular Medicine. Lawson separately announced last month that patients with presumed Long COVID had elevated volumes of 14 vascular transformation proteins, and machine learning identified two — ANG-1 and P-SEL — that could be used to classify Long COVID with 96 percent accuracy.

QMC said it will ensure the test is developed in accordance with the strictest parameters and industry standards, and the company is in talks with US government health agencies about potential collaborations. The announcement from Lawson acknowledged much about Long COVID remains unknown but said biomarkers could aid development of targeted therapeutics against blood vessel changes.

In the Molecular Medicine article, the authors said ANG-1 is a secreted glycoprotein ligand that previous studies indicate has vascular protective effects. Significantly elevated ANG-1 in Long COVID patients "may represent a long-term, wound-repairing angiogenesis response." Elevated concentrations of P-SEL, a transmembrane glycoprotein, may be linked with its roles in angiogenesis and lymphocyte migration, they said.