Accumetrics Gunning To Be the Medical Diagnostics Standard for Managing Cardiovascular Disease

Xconomy San Diego — 

Doctors often prescribe a drug like clopidogrel (Plavix) or aspirin to help prevent their patients from suffering a heart attack, stroke, or even waxy plaque buildup along the inside of blood vessels. But how do they know if the dosage is correct, and that the drug prescribed is actually working as intended to prevent blood platelets from clumping together?

San Diego-based Accumetrics, a venture-backed medical diagnostics company, has a solution. “In a nutshell, we’re the leading company in the measurement of platelets,” says Accumetrics CEO Timothy Still.

Heart disease remains the leading killer of both men and women in the United States. And Still says Accumetrics sees a potential multi-billion-dollar market in helping doctors and patients calibrate the most widely used anti-clotting drugs. Still, who was named CEO last fall, joined Accumetrics with its fourth round of venture capital in 2007. After revamping the company over the past seven months, the CEO says he anticipates additional opportunities for Accumetrics if key regulatory developments unfold as he expects later this year.

Accumetrics says more than 80 million Americans have been diagnosed with one or more types of cardiovascular disease. The company says about 50 million Americans regularly take aspirin for its renowned anti-clotting benefits, and another 29 million take clopidogrel. But Accumetrics says the effect of such drugs can vary—some people show an inherent resistance—so that as many as one-third of the patients taking anti-clotting drugs are not getting the full intended effect.

So exactly how much of the intended effect is a patient actually getting?

Accumetrics makes an automated diagnostic instrument called VerifyNow, and replaceable test kits that are used to measure a patient’s individual response to anti-clotting drugs. The cost of the desktop unit is about $8,000, according to Still—a daunting price. Test cartridges are an additional cost, although Still says that is reimbursable and codes have been assigned by the American Medical Association to facilitate billing Medicare and health providers. (Still says the reimbursement rate for the clopidogrel test is $63 a cartridge). Accumetrics also offers other assays for measuring the effectiveness of other specific drugs on platelets, including aspirin, abciximab (ReoPro), and eptifibatide (Integrillin).

Still says Accumetrics’ diagnostic tests can help doctors adjust the dosage of the anti-platelet drugs they are prescribing to reach … Next Page »

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