Olaris Announces Grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
Initial project focus on uncovering metabolic signatures associated with neurodegenerative disease to provide deeper insight into mechanisms involved in Parkinson's and its progression.
February 11, 2020 — Olaris, a precision medicine company that is fundamentally changing how
diseases are diagnosed and treated, today announced it has received a grant from The Michael
J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF). With this funding Olaris will work to identify
biomarkers that can detect Parkinson’s disease (PD) at its earliest onset, a critical step to
improving PD patient outcomes.
PD affects more than 6 million people worldwide. Currently, there is no single test to diagnose
the disease, and it is believed that clinical symptoms do not become apparent until 5-10 years
after the disease initially begins, during which time it is estimated that 80% of a patient’s
dopaminergic neurons are lost.
“Several proposed PD biomarkers have failed to correlate with the diagnosis or progression of
the disease,” said Dr. Elizabeth O’Day, founder and CEO of Olaris. “With this support from The
Michael J. Fox Foundation, we will apply our proprietary metabolite profiling platform and
customized machine learning algorithms in an effort to identify biomarkers that can accurately
detect PD at its earliest onset.”
Olaris’ platform for measuring the metabolome is unique in its use of nuclear magnetic
resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to analyze biofluid samples. Olaris has developed custom non-
uniform sampling (NUS) techniques that dramatically increase the sensitivity and resolution,
while also reducing the time required to collect the data. The company will use its advanced
NMR methods and machine learning algorithms to uncover the metabolic fingerprint of
Parkinson’s patients with a LRRK2 gene mutation, one of the strongest genetic links to the
disease. This approach may identify novel metabolic biomarkers or may provide new insight into the underlying role of LRRK2 in Parkinson’s disease.
“Objective markers of Parkinson’s onset and progression would be game-changing for clinical
care and research. Our Foundation supports work toward critical biomarker tools, and we are
proud to support Olaris in this effort,” said Bradford Casey, PhD, MJFF Associate Director of
Olaris is fundamentally changing how diseases are diagnosed and treated. The company’s metabolomics platform and machine learning algorithms produce “Biomarkers of Response” (BoR), which removes the guesswork when treating an individual patient’s disease. To learn more, visit www.olarisbor.com.