IXICO launches Assessa

Kate McLeish

December 11, 2013
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IXICO announces the launch of a decision-support tool for diagnosing dementia and widened collaboration with InHealth.

Assessa helps healthcare professionals make a fast and accurate diagnosis of dementia. InHealth and IXICO are now providing access to the product in the UK and Eire. The use of Assessa is being piloted in a community setting in collaboration with partners.

11 December 2013 IXICO plc (Ticker: IXI) (“IXICO” or the “Company”), the brain health company, announces the launch of its first CE marked medical device – to be marketed as Assessa™ – a digital healthcare platform to support the diagnosis of dementia.  IXICO and InHealth Limited (‘InHealth’), a major supplier of diagnostic and healthcare services to the NHS and private health providers, have today signed heads of terms to explore opportunities to provide Assessa™ and complementary services within the UK and Eire.

IXICO's Assessa™ is designed to improve the quality of the information available to healthcare professionals diagnosing dementia thereby enabling patients to receive the right treatment and support they need sooner.  Structural brain imaging (such as MRI scans) is regularly used in the diagnosis of dementia and is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK.  Assessa™ provides clinically actionable information from brain scans by making precise measurements of the brain and comparing it to a reference database of normal elderly people and dementia patients of the same age.

The product launch and widened collaboration coincide with the gathering of the world’s health ministers in London for the G8 Dementia Summit.  Fewer than half of the 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK are estimated to have a firm diagnosis, yet receiving a timely diagnosis has been shown to extend independent life by up to 18 months.  This should make it possible for patients and families to access the care and support they need and plan for the future.  The Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge, launched in March 2012, aims to raise the diagnostic rate to two thirds of sufferers being diagnosed by 2015.  Traditionally, diagnosing dementia has been long and slow, with more than half of patients having to wait between one to four years to complete diagnosis.

Availability of Assessa

In partnership with InHealth, IXICO is now starting to provide access to Assessa™ in the UK and Eire.  It is anticipated that this service will incorporate a detailed assessment of the patient’s cognition together with an in-depth analysis of a brain MRI scan, patient and GP liaison and support services post diagnosis.  InHealth will supply patient bookings and administration services and the clinical scanning capabilities associated with either MRI or PET CT scanning which it already provides in the UK and Eire.  IXICO will supply Assessa™ and appropriate cognitive assessment tools.  The objective of the collaboration is to establish appropriate models of diagnostic services and service provision in a personalised care context.  

The Brain Health Centre pilot project

IXICO is also already separately piloting the use of Assessa™ in a community setting in a collaboration with InHealth, Cambridge Cognition plc (‘CamCog’), the NHS in Sussex and the Alzheimer's Society.  The project partners believe the pilot can demonstrate significantly better patient outcomes and lower NHS and social care costs.  Approximately £3.3 million is being invested in this study, of which £2.1 million has been secured as government grant funding from the UK Biomedical Catalyst Fund. This project is integrating IXICO’s Assessa™ with CamCog’s CANTABmobile computerized cognitive testing product.  InHealth is providing local access to radiology services in Sussex ensuring convenience for patients and their families and greater access to care.  The Alzheimer's Society is supporting the project by ensuring the needs of patients and their carers are fully considered and are undertaking an initial impact assessment on the first 200 patients assessed. 

Richard Bradford, Chief Executive of InHealth, said:

We are very enthusiastic about the Brain Health Centre project and our wider collaboration with IXICO announced today.   We can see real potential to improve the quality of diagnosis and care for dementia patients and their families.

Professor Derek Hill, Chief Executive of IXICO, said:

The launch of Assessais an important milestone for IXICO, as a first step in our goal of providing technologies to improve the diagnosis, care and support of patients with dementia.

Professor Alistair Burns, the National Clinical Director for Dementia in England, added:

Innovation and the application of new technologies are important in improving the lives of people with dementia and their carers.  Companies like IXICO are an example of how to provide these technologies, which can widen the choice for people in getting a high quality timely diagnosis of dementia.  This enables people and their families to access post diagnostic support, including specific treatments, which can improve their quality of life.

About IXICO

IXICO, the brain health company, was founded in 2004 with a mission to translate image acquisition, management and analysis technology and know-how, which the founders had developed together, into commercial products targeting the expanding area of imaging to inform decision-making during drug development. This has resulted in commercially successful products being launched in the clinical trials (Phase 0-III) and experimental medicine markets and being readied for launch into the wider clinical diagnostic market. Since incorporation, IXICO has been contracted by seven of the top 15 global pharmaceutical companies as well as leading biotechnology companies. In October 2013, IXICO plc was admitted to trading on AIM. 

About InHealth

InHealth Group is a leading provider of diagnostic and healthcare services to the NHS and private patients.  InHealth has worked with NHS Trusts in the United Kingdom over the last 20 years and last year saw over 650,000 patients at over 280 locations across the UK and Ireland in both acute and primary care settings. 

The company has seen excellent growth over the past few years and continues to add to their portfolio of clinical services, which now includes diagnostic services such as Endoscopy and Audiology.  InHealth continues to provide more services and solutions across primary, secondary and specialist care.  They continue to grow their presence in hospitals, but also, through close working relationships with GPs, they are focused on designing and delivering local services in order to deliver better patient access and outcomes. 

InHealth is CQC registered, an Investor in People, carries ISO27001 accreditation for Information Security Management and has received the Health Investor award for ‘Diagnostic Provider of the Year’ for the past two years.  More information is available on the InHealth website.

About Assessa

Assessa is a decision-support platform (based on IXICO BAND medical device that was CE-marked in March 2013) for healthcare professionals looking to diagnose dementia and detect its underlying causes. It is intended for use with elderly patients being investigated for possible memory problems and is designed to support the diagnosis of dementia and mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease or other causes.  Assessa™ measures the volume of regions in the medial temporal lobe, including the hippocampus, from MRI brain scans.  It provides a patient risk factor report based on the patient’s age and this is compared to the distribution of normal and diseased patients to provide a better-informed decision towards diagnosis.  As such, it is interpretive as the measurements are not diagnostic in isolation but rather are used in conjunction with other assessments such as cognitive tests.  This has the potential to transform the diagnostic process by improving the confidence of health care practitioners when making a diagnosis, enabling them to make a more timely and accurate diagnosis, and therefore improving patient outcomes by providing quicker access to effective treatments and support.  More information is available on the Assessa website.