Oxford BioDynamics, Holos to Develop Sports-Related Concussion Biomarkers

January 29, 2018
Oxford BioDynamics, Holos to Develop Sports-Related Concussion Biomarkers
Oxford BioDynamics (OBD) will partner with Holos Life Sciences to develop non-invasive epigenetic biomarkers associated with sports-related concussions. [© ktsdesign/Fotolia]

Oxford BioDynamics (OBD) said today it will partner with Holos Life Sciences to develop noninvasive epigenetic biomarkers associated with sports-related concussions, through a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

The collaboration will use OBD’s EpiSwitch platform to help determine and monitor systemic epigenetic changes and potential physiological reprogramming due to sports-related concussions.

EpiSwitch is designed to discover, evaluate, validate, and monitor a class of epigenetic biomarkers called chromosome conformation signatures (CCSs). The platform is expected to help OBD identify biomarkers and evaluate them to aid in determining changes to an athlete’s epigenetic profiles following a concussive event.

The analysis aims to identify a CCS of EpiSwitch biomarkers that can be monitored to assess the impact of concussions, with the goal of shaping return-to-play protocols and determining how quickly an athlete can resume activities. EpiSwitch stratification is designed to help quantify the risk of prolonged effects of sports-related concussion, and thus potentially improve recovery and rehabilitation.

Biomarker readouts will be based on minimally invasive blood testing, with Holos to supply blood samples from participating athletes.

“Based on our previous studies and stratification results, we believe that we can make an important contribution to the analysis of sports-related concussions, help improve the rehabilitation protocols, and directly assist individual athletes and their teams in their training planning,” Christian Hoyer Miller, CEO of OBD, said in a statement.

Added Holos CEO Scott Callender: "We are excited to be working with OBD and their EpiSwitch platform to further the understanding of both the immediate and long-term impact that sports-related concussions have on athletes. The ability to identify objective epigenetic biomarkers has the potential to help evaluate sports-related concussions and may provide us with a tool to measure any long-term impact they have on individuals.”

Based in Oxford, U.K., OBD focuses on discovering and developing epigenetic biomarkers based on regulatory genome architecture, for use within biopharma. Earlier this month, OBD said it entered into a partnership with an unnamed “major U.S. biopharmaceutical company” to develop new predictive biomarkers for immuno-oncology (IO) therapies.

Singapore-based Holos focuses on optimizing training and preventing injury in athletes and the general public.

According to OBD, CCSs—also known as gene loops, long-range chromosomal interactions, and chromatin domains—are designed to provide a framework through which it can analyze changes in the regulation of a genome long before these changes make themselves apparent as abnormalities.

Last fall, OBD Senior Director Willem Westra, Ph.D., presented two distinct epigenetic signatures for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) diagnosis and prognosis at the 2017 Annual Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) meeting, held October 2–4 in Clearwater Beach, FL.