Hummingbird Diagnostics and Saarland University Collaborate in Early Disease Detection Based on Molecular Markers


Hummingbird Diagnostics GmbH, specialized in early disease detection using molecular markers derived from blood, and Saarland University agreed on a comprehensive framework agreement regarding an expanded collaboration in the field of molecular diagnostics. The work aims at the validation of miRNA biomarkers in blood samples, allowing for an early detection of common serious diseases including lung cancer, chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

The project partners at Saarland University are the Department of Human Genetics and the Chair of Clinical Bioinformatics. Hummingbird Diagnostics has been maintaining long-standing research collaborations with both their renowned directors, Prof. Dr. Andreas Keller (Clinical Bioinformatics) and Prof. Dr. Eckart Meese (Human Genetics).

Since 2009, the two miRNA experts have been working together successfully in projects involving several disease areas. This partnership resulted in more than 60 scientific publications as well as a multitude of patents.

The Vice President of Saarland University, Prof. Dr. Martina Sester, appreciates the collaboration: "With Hummingbird Diagnostics, we acquired an excellent partner, enabling us to translate the outstanding research of Profs. Keller and Meese into clinical applications, thus generating significant future benefit for many patients."

Prof. Dr. Andreas Keller, Director of the Chair of Clinical Bioinformatics comments: „We know Hummingbird Diagnostics as an innovative and reliable partner with unique expertise in miRNA biomarkers from body fluids. Therefore, we are pleased to further expand the collaboration, allowing us to validate our research results and translate them into clinical practice.“ His colleague Prof. Dr. Meese adds: „Moreover, this collaboration enables a better understanding of the functional mechanisms of biomarkers, an aspect of increasing importance in diagnostics.“

„Together with the teams of Prof. Dr. Keller and Prof. Dr. Meese, we successfully identified many miRNAs from blood that may contribute to patient-friendly methods for early disease detection,“ says Jochen Kohlhaas, CEO of Hummingbird Diagnostics. „The new agreement enables us to collaboratively address further disease areas, such as neurodegenerative diseases.“

The partners envisage to examine at least 5.000 samples from patients with pulmonary diseases (COPD, lung cancer) and neurodegenerative conditions (Parkinson's and Alzheimer's). The framework agreement regulates the procedures of collaborative projects as well as the utilization of results, publications, software, and intellectual property rights. Within the agreement, Hummingbird Diagnostics acquired the rights in eight further patents.

Facts, background information, dossiers
  • diagnostics
  • miRNA
  • molecular diagnostics
  • biomarkers
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