Owlstone Medical, has announced a strategic collaboration with Switzerland-based Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd, leader in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), to discover and validate a breath-based test to help facilitate the early diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension (PH) and its subtypes. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the entire program will be funded solely by Actelion.

The collaboration will incorporate sites in the U.K., U.S., and the E.U to collect breath samples from 1,000 patients to analyze volatile organic compounds (VOCs) collected using Owlstone’s proprietary device ReCIVA. Owlstone will analyze the VOCs of the collected samples to identify those that are associated with PH, in order to develop biomarker signature(s) in an effort to develop methods to diagnose the disease at an earlier stage.

“Owlstone Medical was founded with the objective of improving the early diagnosis of disease in order to save lives through the application of Breath Biopsy. This strategic collaboration with Actelion, which is focused on improving the lives of those suffering from PH and PAH, represents a tremendous opportunity to do just that,” said Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO of Owlstone Medical. “This is particularly true in under diagnosed areas such as PH, where early diagnosis is difficult and so screening has to be simple, reliable, and cost effective.”

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a progressive cardiopulmonary disease where the 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. Early diagnosis of PH is very difficult, and the condition often presents clinically as similar to other heart and lung conditions, which can result in significant delays in proper diagnosis and treatment that can stretch to year. This new partnership addressed the need for screening and early diagnosis of patients presenting with early signs of PH and its sub-groups.

Owlstone Medical has been very active in the past couple of year forging partnerships to use its Breath Biopsy technology for the identification of VOCs as biomarkers of disease. Prominent partnerships include those with AstsaZeneca to identify Asthma and COPD biomarkers, announced in April 2018; work with the Mayo clinic to use its technology as a pre-endoscopic test designed to improve the effectiveness of colonoscopies; and in February this year, a clinical trial with Renji Hospital in Shanghai to assess its technology for the early detection of lung cancer.

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