Diagnostic biomarker for Alzheimer's in the pipeline
17 October 2017
License agreement between spin-off Epilog and UAntwerp creates opportunities in fight against Alzheimer's.
Biomedical start-up Epilog, a spin-off company of Ghent University and imec, also becomes a spin-off of UAntwerp. Both partners have plenty of ambition: their aim is to develop predictive biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease in the short term rather than the long term, enabling doctors to diagnose the disease much more quickly.
The number of people with dementia is on the rise across the globe. The scientific community has made headway over the last few years, but an actual cure is still missing. In Belgium and abroad, scientists are pushing themselves to the limit every day in order to find a breakthrough as soon as possible.
Ghent-based start-up Epilog was founded in the autumn of 2016 as spin-off company of Ghent University and imec by Gregor Strobbe, Pieter van Mierlo and Vincent Keereman with fifteen years of experience in scientific research to back them up. The company launched Epilog PreOp at the beginning of this year. This product uses electroencephalogram (EEG) analysis to visualise areas of the brain that generate the epileptic seizures. The Epilog team is now also planning to apply their expertise to patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Our EEG processing technology can also be applied in the fight against Alzheimer's disease”, says Gregor Strobbe, Epilog’s CEO. “We could use the EEG method to evaluate the effect of treatments of Alzheimer's disease. But the main focus of our joint project will be on developing innovative and prognostic EEG biomarkers that enable early diagnosis and prediction of cognitive decline. We want to use our advanced EEG analysis methods to predict which patients with cognitive impairment will progress to actual dementia.”
Epilog is teaming up with the University of Antwerp, home to substantial expertise in the area of Alzheimer's and dementia. The two partners signed a license agreement making Epilog a spin-off company of UAntwerp.
Sebastiaan Engelborghs is head of UAntwerp’s Reference Centre for Biological Markers of Dementia (BIODEM). “We have all the necessary experience in developing biomarkers. For this research, we will use a unique and existing cohort of patients. Unlike imaging and biochemical biomarkers, EEG has the huge advantage that it is not invasive, and it’s also relatively cheap. Thanks to Epilog’s technology, I’m confident we’ll be able to achieve results in the short term.”
For this project Epilog and UAntwerp will recruit a postdoctoral researcher. Engelborghs: “We are looking for a civil engineer with a PhD to lead this promising project. The position will be announced shortly.”