Labcorp takes a new path with a test launch

Labcorp is entering a different segment of testing with the launch of its latest diagnostic. The Burlington, North Carolina-based company said it has developed a test that can give greater insight into neurodegeneration and neuronal damage such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and concussions. cerebral.

The Neurofilament Light Chain (NfL) blood test will allow physicians to identify and verify signs of neurodegenerative disease, allowing physicians to provide a more effective and efficient pathway to diagnosis and treatment of patients. High levels of NfL signal neuronal injury, whether from diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, or from brain injury such as concussion.

The NfL test brings Labcorp to the forefront of recent changes taking place in neurology, said Joseph Volpe, director of neurology and discipline business line at Labcorp.

“The field of neurology is changing so rapidly now,” Volpe told MD+DI. “[Neurology] is moving towards a more blood-based diagnostic activity, which is going to include many more blood biomarkers – especially in areas like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The [NfL] The test really sets the stage and forms the basis for being able to bring many more of these biomarkers to market in the future.

NfL is not a newly discovered biomarker and it has been widely studied in research. However, this is one of the first times a company has developed a commercial test around the biomarker, Volpe said. He pointed out that there were several reasons why Labcorp was one of the first companies to move forward with a test using the NfL biomarker.

“Just because something is well-studied in the literature and physicians know it very well doesn’t necessarily translate to a clear path to commercialization,” Volpe said. “So often what needs to happen is a lot of nuanced negotiation with many suppliers who produce these types of reagents to ensure that deals can be made in a way that everyone is happy to release a product. ”

He added: “In this case, Labcorp worked very hard with good partners that we have to make sure we were going to be able to offer this product.”

The concept of blood tests in neurology is gaining ground.

Abbott Laboratories got a green light from the FDA for a portable blood plasma test in January 2021.

The Abbott Park, Illinois-based company’s test enables rapid, quantified analysis of suspected concussions without waiting for imaging to be taken and read. Abbott developed the test in conjunction with the US Department of Defense; the partnership, was announced in 2014.

Just over two years ago, Quanterix, based in Billerica, MA, announced progress on Single Molecule Array technology to generate data on the value of blood biomarkers as research tools to study pathophysiological mechanisms concussions and as potential clinical tools and objective indicators for sport. – concussions and mild head trauma.

Labcorp working overtime

Labcorp has had its hands full recently. The company announced that it offers testing for monkeypox. About a week ago, Labcorp said it would use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s orthopoxvirus test, which detects all non-pox-related orthopoxviruses, including monkeypox.

And in May, LabCorp turned to skin cancer with a new test that determines the level of expression of the lymphocyte activation gene 3 (LAG-3).