Monday, April 25, 2005

Vacaville's Large Scale announces possible Alzheimer's breakthrough

Article Last Updated: Wednesday, Apr 20, 2005 - 11:31:26 pm PDT

Large Scale announces possible Alzheimer's breakthrough

By Matthew Bunk

- Researchers might be one step closer to the early detection of Alzheimer's Disease, according to an announcement Wednesday by biotech firm Large Scale Biology Corp. and PerkinElmer Inc., a leading provider of drug discovery.

Vacaville-based Large Scale Biology and Boston-based PerkinElmer said they have found a series of biomarkers that appear to differ in Alzheimer's patients compared to people without cognitive impairment.

The announcement was the result of a study by PerkinElmer and David Bennett, M.D., director of the Alzheimer's Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. The collaborative study compared the results using a blood test, making it one of the first studies of its kind to describe a potential for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's. The results were presented last week at a medical conference in Baltimore. However, the results are not definitive. The findings have not yet been verified by independent studies.

The blood analysis was carried out using technologies developed separately by PerkinElmer and Predictive Diagnostics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Large Scale Biology.Using the technologies, researchers identified patterns of proteins and peptides that distinguish Alzheimer's patients from those without clinical signs of the disease.Large Scale and PerkinElmer said the study shows that their technologies could be crucial to diagnose and treat certain diseases.

"This study demonstrates the power of our comprehensive suite of tools and technologies for biomarker discovery and analysis," said Peter Coggins, president of PerkinElmer Life and Analytical Sciences.

Large Scale says its technology has the capability to detect certain cancers and multiple sclerosis. Company executives believe early detection will reduce health care costs.The two companies, although partners, have drastically different backgrounds and financial situations. While PerkinElmer is a global drug technology leader with 2004 revenues of $1.7 billion and more than 10,000 employees, Large Scale Biology has teetered on the edge of financial crisis for more than a year.

Last week, Large Scale borrowed $3 million from its chief executive, Kevin Ryan. It has stayed afloat for the past year through cost-cutting measures such as trimming its staff by about half and eliminating some early-stage product development. Wednesday's announcement pushed Large Scale's stock price up 6.7 percent to a closing price of 94 cents per share.

Reach Matthew Bunk at 425-4646 Ext. 267 or

Solano's Got It!

Solano's Got It!
The Best That Northern California Has To Offer.

Blog Archive