Exagen Partners with GSK to Raise Awareness of Its Lupus Diagnostic and Monitoring Tests

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by Ines Martins, PhD |

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Exagen Diagnostics is collaborating with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to bring greater awareness of its laboratory tests, meant to facilitate early diagnosis and management of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Under the agreement, GSK will provide information to a group of healthcare professionals about Exagen’s AVISE tests. The aim of both companies is to improve the timely diagnosis of SLE (the most common type of lupus), which is now at an average of nearly six years, and to help monitor patients already diagnosed with the disease.

“Every day, hundreds of very concerned patients are looking for answers about the cause of their symptoms. Exagen is dedicated to helping those patients get accurate and timely information and providing their physicians with insights that can put those patients on the path to improved health,” Ron Rocca, CEO of Exagen Diagnostics, said in a press release.

The diagnosis of SLE is complicated by the different signs and symptoms that patients show. Misdiagnosis also causes significant delays in treatment because symptoms often mimic other diseases, and without a single test to diagnose SLE, doctors must rely on various indicators to make an accurate diagnosis.

The AVISE Connective Tissue Disease tests assess key biomarkers that are important to determine if a patient has the disease or other rheumatic conditions with similar symptoms. Using cell-bound complement activation products (CB-CAPS) – markers of inflammatory response – the company is able to determine if a patient likely has SLE with greater accuracy than commonly used measures.

The AVISE SLE Monitor, on the other hand, is a test for patients already diagnosed with the disease. It combines five key markers of disease activity, giving physicians a better picture of how well a patient’s condition in being managed.

“The technology being used in the laboratory at Exagen is cutting-edge, and speaking from experience this enhances the ability of physicians to provide a timely diagnosis, as well as ongoing monitoring for SLE patients. This partnership with GSK to raise awareness about these new approaches could lead to an accelerated diagnosis,” said Arthur Weinstein, chief medical officer at Exagen.

“As partners to the lupus community, reducing the burden of SLE on patients is a key goal that we share,” added Sheri Mullen, vice president of U.S. immunology at GSK. “Through the collaboration, we have a real opportunity to raise awareness of testing and tools to help physicians and their patients better manage the disease.”

Exagen announced the availability of the SLE tests in June 2017. At the time, the AVISE SLE monitor was made available to doctors in the United States, and the New York State Department of Health had also conditionally approved the test.