UCL leads key collaboration to enhance gene discovery findings in schizophrenia

30 September 2008

UCL has entered into a research collaboration to replicate the findings of a genome-wide association study carried out by Genizon Inc. of Quebec, under an agreement between the Canadian company and London Genetics Ltd.

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling disease of the central nervous system affecting between 0.5% and 1% of the adult population worldwide. The causes involve both genetic and environmental factors. Treatment generally involves the use of antipsychotic medication, which is effective in treating some disease symptoms, but can also produce significant side effects.

Genizon is dedicated to accelerating the development of diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to schizophrenia and has conducted eight genome-wide association studies to date, covering a range of therapeutic areas.

Under the new agreement, Genizon will collaborate with UCL to replicate their initial discoveries in a genome-wide association study of schizophrenia.  Genizon’s study identified multiple genes associated with the disease using DNA samples from the Quebec founder population. All studies have used samples from this population, which, because of its high level of genetic homogeneity, is considered among the best populations worldwide for disease gene discovery.

“We are delighted to be working with London Genetics and UCL” said Dr. John Hooper, President and CEO of Genizon.  “They have access to advanced expertise in schizophrenia research, and this collaboration will help replicate our discoveries in this disease”.

UCL Business has been key in supporting the active involvement of UCL in the collaborative enterprise of London Genetics Ltd, and is delighted that UCL experts have been chosen for this important and exciting work. Professor Mike Spyer (Vice-Provost Enterprise UCL) commented: “London Genetics is proving both good for UCL and for developing partnerships between the major research centres in London”.

Genizon BioSciences Inc.
Genizon BioSciences Inc., founded in 1999, is the only source for GeneMaps – omprehensive maps of genes, genetic markers, biochemical pathways and drug targets that are unequivocally involved in causing human disease-accelerating the development of safer, more effective, personalized medicines. Genizon’s proprietary, automated gene discovery platform using genome-wide association studies involving thousands of members of the Quebec Founder Population provides unprecedented understanding of the genetic origins and mechanisms of common diseases, resulting in the best possible drug targets and genetic markers. Genizon is conducting gene discovery programs in more than 25 common diseases. Genizon also provides high throughput, high quality SNP genotyping, genetic analysis, gene expression and pharmacogenomics services to academic institutions, research organizations and the biopharmaceutical industry. For more information visit: www.genizon.com

London Genetics Ltd.
London Genetics Ltd is funded by the London Development Agency, which provides the healthcare industry with access to world-class clinical and academic excellence in genomics-based medicine, bringing together the expertise and resources of seven of London’s top biomedical research Institutions. Using its specialist subject knowledge and extensive networks, London Genetics provides access to well phenotyped, clinical cohorts for biomarker discovery and validation through investigator-led collaborative research programmes. For more information visit: www.londongenetics.com

Further Information
Contact Dr Jeff Trickett, Senior Business Development Manager, j.trickett@uclb.com