Sunbird Bio, a biotechnology company developing proprietary protein-based technologies to improve the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and early-stage cancer, completed a merger with Glympse Bio to accelerate the development of its diagnostic platforms. 

The merged company, which will operate as Sunbird Bio, Inc., brings together leaders in the protein diagnostics field with the technology, resources, and expertise to drive paradigm-shifting success and improve patient outcomes, the companies say. Financial details of the merger were not disclosed.

The newly combined Sunbird Bio will have U.S. headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., with operational headquarters in Singapore. The company has a clinical-stage pipeline of diagnostic tests based on two innovative, validated technology platforms, APEX and Glympse, that uniquely detect the property and activity of circulating proteins to empower researchers and clinicians with insights not available or accessible from current tests. These technologies have demonstrated the potential to address the growing need for more cost-effective, sensitive, accessible, and reliable diagnostic tests to accelerate drug development and improve patient care, according to the companies.

The lead indication for APEX is Alzheimer’s disease, and Sunbird Bio is a company that was able to earlier overcome the challenge of accurately detecting and differentiating the specific proteins that aggregate, and therefore signal the presence of the disease, with a simple blood draw. 

Further reading: Is Early Diagnosis the Key to Making Alzheimer’s Disease a Manageable Condition? 

“I am excited about the synergies and opportunities created by the integration of our two innovative companies – particularly the impact our combined diagnostic offerings could have on accelerating clinical research and the availability of new treatments for patients suffering from serious diseases,” says John McDonough, executive chair and CEO of Sunbird Bio. “The APEX and Glympse platforms have the potential to dramatically improve standards of care for many diseases by overcoming the inaccessibility, invasiveness, and lack of reliability associated with current diagnostic approaches that limit their usefulness in drug development, disease detection, disease monitoring, and personalized treatment selection.”

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s are notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat, with devastating consequences for patients and their families. APEX is a proprietary diagnostic platform that identifies – from a blood draw – aggregated amyloid-β in circulation. APEX has demonstrated the ability to identify this peptide aggregation, which is pivotal in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, accurately and with very high correlation to gold standard PET scans, the company says. 

Sunbird Bio is also developing additional biomarker tests associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders, further expanding the platform’s potential applications and impact.

Glympse was an early diagnostic platform to have demonstrated the capability to measure and analyze protease activity in the blood. This capability supports early and accurate diagnoses and facilitates better-informed treatment planning and monitoring. Numerous diseases, including many cancers, have altered protease activity from the earliest stages. The insights acquired from protease activity may also accelerate and improve clinical trials by supporting precise patient enrollment and shortened trial lengths.

“By joining two companies with unparalleled scientific leadership in protein-based diagnostics, Sunbird Bio is well-positioned to become a global leader in the field, addressing significant research and clinical gaps, and serving multiple, sizable markets,” says Alexandra Cantley, partner at Polaris Partners. “The company’s diagnostic platforms could be highly complementary as technologies that detect, measure, and monitor disease, helping to fuel advances in Alzheimer’s disease, other neurological disorders, and early-stage cancer, with long-term potential in other therapeutic areas, as well.”

Sunbird Bio is currently partnering with biopharma companies and researchers to bring to market their full suite of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological diagnostic tests, and to pursue early-stage cancer diagnostics with the Glympse platform.