Press Release

Jul 26, 2021
Cytox strengthens management team to support commercialisation of genoSCORE test to predict risk of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease

New appointments in Commercial Operations, Medical Affairs, and Bioinformatics & Genetics

26 July 2021: Oxford & Manchester, UK. Cytox Ltd, which provides non-invasive, risk assessment and patient stratification tools for Alzheimer's disease and dementia, has strengthened its management team with the appointment of Ian McLellan as Commercial Operations Manager, Dr Vicky Jones as Medical Affairs Lead, and Dr Qian Gao as Head of Bioinformatics and Genetics.

Ian brings over 25 years of experience in senior roles developing commercial strategies, customer engagement and product launches within the medical diagnostics market. Ian’s role at Cytox is to oversee market development and revenue generation in Europe and the US for the genoSCORETM test. Prior to Cytox Ian had a focus on neurology imaging; was involved in the launch of the gene testing market at GE Healthcare; oversaw commercialisation of the Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) service at NHS Blood & Transplant (NHSBT); and most recently led the commercial team at Feedback plc, developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions for oncology diagnosis.

Vicky is a highly experienced neuroscientist with a research profile centred on Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders. As Medical Affairs Lead at Cytox, Vicky aims to bridge the gap between scientific innovation and clinical implementation through medical education about the genoSCORE test and how clinicians can use the test to support their patients delay the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Vicky has a PhD in neuroscience, has undertaken a number of postdoctoral research positions, including one funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK. Vicky also established an independent research group, securing UK and EU grant funding for pre-clinical research into dementias and brain tumours. Most recently Vicky worked in medical affairs at Novartis.

Qian has a wide experience in bioinformatics across academia and industry. At Cytox, Qian is responsible for the ongoing development of the genoSCORE and genoTORTM platforms. With a PhD in Systems Biology, she began as a postdoc researcher at Babraham Institute, later joined Adaptimmune as a Senior Bioinformatics to lead and support cross-functional projects for early drug discovery and clinical trials, and went on to work as a solutions consultant at Genestack to support industry leaders by utilising bioinformatics and solutions expertise to solve issues and challenges in multi-omics data management.

Richard Pither, CEO of Cytox, said: “I am delighted to welcome Ian, Vicky, and Qian to the Cytox team. Vicky’s and Ian’s skills and experience are central to the launch of genoSCORE in Europe and the imminent launch in the US, and the ongoing programme to build our customer base, increase adoption of genetic testing for Alzheimer’s disease, and ultimately increase our sales revenues. Furthermore, Qian is critical to the future development of our portfolio of polygenic risk score products, that will enable us to provide new tools for clinicians to assess their patients, and for pharma to develop new therapies to treat Alzheimer’s disease.”

 

Company contacts:

Richard Pither, Chief Executive Officer, Cytox

Tel: +44 (0)1865 338 018

Adam Michael – Communications Lead, Cytox

Tel: +44 777 588 1813

adam.michael@cytoxgroup.com

 

About Cytox (www.cytoxgroup.com)

Without new drug therapies, the economic and healthcare cost burden of dementia - including Alzheimer's disease (AD) - is estimated to exceed $1tn per year in the next decade1.  AD – a highly complex disease with risk factors based in genetics, lifestyle, age, and environment. Cytox’s products genoSCORETM and genoTORTM use Polygenic Risk Scoring (PRS) to predict the risk of individuals developing AD, and to improve clinical trial outcomes through patient stratification and the genetic characterisation of the disease.

 

About genoSCORE™

genoSCORE is a new non-invasive, genetic test to predict future risk of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The test, which uses a simple blood or saliva sample, analyses patient genotypes against an array of over 100,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are associated with AD. As such, the test generates a patient-specific polygenic risk score (PRS).

Clinicians can use the genoSCORE powered test to assess patients for the risk of developing Alzheimer's, before symptoms arise, prior to invasive cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) testing or expensive scanning techniques. Furthermore, the test’s simplicity of use would enable elderly and vulnerable patients not wishing or easily able to attend healthcare settings, to provide a suitable sample from home. genoSCORE enables physicians to make better informed decisions about their patients’ risk of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease, and guide them towards effective lifestyle and therapeutic interventions that can have a significant impact on delaying the onset of disease symptoms and cognitive decline2.

Developers of new AD drug therapies can also use genoSCORE to identify and recruit patients to clinical studies, ensuring the selection of the most suitable candidates, those most likely to experience cognitive decline over the time period of the study.

This test is a measure of relative risk for future onset of Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) and should not be considered as standalone diagnostic test. A high genoSCORE test result does not indicate that an individual will definitively develop LOAD in the future, and conversely, a low genoSCORE result does not categorically mean that subsequent onset of LOAD will never occur. The test result should be used in conjunction with other information available to the physician.

 

References: 

    1 World Alzheimer’s Report 2015 www.alz.co.uk/research/WorldAlzheimerReport2015.pdf 

    2 Lancet Commission: Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32738937/