Octave Bioscience has been awarded a $10 million grant from The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) for the discovery, development, and validation of a custom protein biomarker panel to measure Parkinson’s disease activity and progression in the clinic.

A multiplexed biomarker assay panel for Parkinson’s could further accelerate research and development of new therapies and provide a tool for better monitoring and management of the disease, according to the company. Octave was selected to receive this grant as a result of the company’s track record in biomarker research and its successful commercialization of a multiplexed custom biomarker assay panel for multiple sclerosis.

Further reading: Scientists Develop AI Tool to Predict Parkinson’s Onset

“MJFF is at the forefront of scientific research, and we look forward to building on their extraordinary insights as well as their deep knowledge of the disease and its pathophysiology to create the industry’s first validated multiplexed biomarker assay panel for Parkinson’s,” says William Hagstrom, Octave’s founder and Chief Executive Officer. “This project is incredibly meaningful to us, as it further extends our mission to build precision care solutions that transform the lives of people living with high cost, complex, and debilitating neurodegenerative conditions. We’re excited to apply our experience and learnings from multiple sclerosis to Parkinson’s, and help change the treatment paradigm for people living with this disease.”

MJFF is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today. The organization is uniquely positioned to speed breakthroughs by providing scientists with funding, tools, and collaborative partnerships as well as facilitating engagement in an industry-wide consortium dedicated to advancing research for Parkinson’s. 

Octave will leverage MJFF’s robust data resources, including The MJFF Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), a longitudinal, observational, multi-center study assessing progression of clinical features, imaging outcomes, biologic and genetic markers, and digital outcomes of disease across all stages of Parkinson’s, from prodromal to moderate disease. Using PPMI, MJFF recently announced research that it had validated a biological diagnostic test to objectively and reliably detect alpha-synuclein protein, a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.

“The Parkinson’s community has an unmet need for deeper, objective, and more precise insights that are based on the individual patient’s biology. Biomarker testing is a promising development in identifying best responders to certain treatments, evaluating treatment impact, and tracking disease progression – all things that would improve disease management and patient outcomes,” says Mark Frasier, PhD, chief scientific officer of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. “This precision approach enhances patient care and enables a holistic view of their condition.”

Octave’s Precision Care Solution provides a quantitative, objective measurement system designed to provide clinically actionable insights in neurodegenerative diseases, starting with multiple sclerosis. The company’s Precision Care Solution is currently in use in over 50 clinics across the United States and allows people living with multiple sclerosis and their clinicians to better manage a highly complex disease. Octave combines blood biomarkers, enhanced imaging capabilities, and clinical insights for the most comprehensive view of the patient. These insights provide biological and contextual metrics that bring scientific clarity to neurodegenerative disease, enabling informed care, shared decision making, and leading to better patient outcomes.

“Building on Octave’s progress in multiple sclerosis, we are thrilled to work with MJFF to build a precision care solution for Parkinson’s,” says Jim Eubanks, PhD, Octave’s National Director of Medical Affairs and the principal investigator of the project. “Our goal is to create a powerful biomarker tool that addresses a variety of applications ranging from disease activity and progression, disease staging and subtyping, as well as disease modifying treatment development and monitoring. We are humbled by the opportunity to work with MJFF and lead this important scientific research and development project that could have a profound impact for the industry, and most importantly, for those living with Parkinson’s.”