Protagen has signed a semi-exclusive license agreement for its BICD2 biomarker with Inova Diagnostics, the companies said today.

The license agreement—whose value was not disclosed—will enable Inova to add the biomarker to its portfolio of connective tissue disease (CTD) reagents, with the goal of helping improve diagnosis of the disorder, Protagen and Inova said.

 BICD2 is an autoantigen and the first proprietary biomarker discovered by Protagen through its SeroTag® technology platform. Protagen specializes in the development of diagnostic and companion diagnostic tests designed to provide better and earlier diagnosis of autoimmune diseases.

“This agreement is further confirmation of the high clinical and commercial value of our SeroTag technology and its potential for continuous delivery of relevant, novel biomarkers,” Protagen CEO Stefan Müllner said in a statement. “We are very proud that Inova Diagnostics has licensed BICD2 to complement its existing diagnostic assay portfolio, and look forward to further licensing deals.”

 After anti-Centromere antibodies and anti-Scl70 antibodies, anti-BICD2 antibodies are most abundant in Systemic Sclerosis (SSc) patients, being found in approximately 30% of patients with the autoimmune disorder.

 “We believe that there are many areas within autoimmunity that would benefit from additional biomarkers to close the diagnostic gap. Anti-BICD2, the novel marker from Protagen, provides the means to help fill that gap in SSc,” added Michael Mahler, Inova’s vp, research and development. “The addition of anti-BICD2 to our CTD offerings may increase the overall accuracy of diagnosis, and may ultimately add to the understanding of the etiology of this disease.”

Privately held Inova is a manufacturer of in vitro diagnostics (IVD) systems and reagents for autoimmune disease, focused on developing and commercializing novel autoimmune technologies and diagnostic markers. Inova is a unit of Werfen, a global IVD developer serving hospitals and clinical laboratories.

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