Akouos, Inc (“Akouos”) (NASDAQ: AKUS), a precision genetic medicine company dedicated to developing potential gene therapies for individuals living with disabling hearing loss worldwide, and Blueprint Genetics, a Quest Diagnostics company, announced the Resonate program. The program offers genetic testing to eligible individuals with auditory neuropathy at no cost to participants, their insurance, or their healthcare providers, according to the company’s announcement.
Related article: Akouos Announces Gene Therapy to Treat Genetic Hearing Loss
Every year, thousands of children are born with disabling hearing loss and the majority of cases of congenital hearing loss are due to an underlying genetic cause. However, few individuals receive a genetic diagnosis and a key barrier is the availability and accessibility of genetic testing. The Resonate program seeks “to overcome the barriers to genetic testing for individuals with auditory neuropathy, empower them to make informed choices, and provide potentially valuable insight to inform medical management.”
“Akouos is committed to deepening the community’s understanding of the genetic forms of auditory neuropathy, a type of sensorineural hearing loss,” said Manny Simons, PhD, Founder, President, and CEO of Akouos. “Today, there are no pharmacologic therapies approved for the treatment of hearing loss. The development of new therapeutic options for underserved patient populations has become increasingly reliant on identification of the underlying genetic cause of a genetic disease, disorder, or condition. We hope the Resonate program, along with our efforts to better understand the genetic causes and natural history of multiple forms of sensorineural hearing loss, will enable the research and development of novel genetic medicines for individuals with disabling hearing loss.”
“There are many different genetic changes that cause hearing loss. These changes can be complex and difficult for routine genetic testing to detect,” said Tero-Pekka Alastalo, MD, PhD, executive medical director of Blueprint Genetics. “Understanding the genetic cause of hearing loss requires a high-quality genetic testing strategy that includes the mitochondrial genome, difficultto-sequence genes, and deep intronic variants, in addition to copy number variants in order to increase the diagnostic potential for the program participant. We are excited to work with Akouos to offer our comprehensive genetic testing approach to individuals with auditory neuropathy.”
The Resonate program is available in the United States and plans to expand to additional geographic regions throughout 2021. To be eligible for the program, individuals can be any age, and must have a current or prior clinical diagnosis of auditory neuropathy, or a medical history consistent with auditory neuropathy. Auditory neuropathy is a hearing disorder in which the inner ear successfully detects sound, but has a problem with sending sound from the ear to the brain. In many cases, genetic mutations cause auditory neuropathy. The Resonate program provides access to the Blueprint Genetics Comprehensive Hearing Loss and Deafness Panel that includes more than 230 genes associated with genetic forms of hearing loss.
To help understand their results, participants in the United States also have access to genetic counseling provided by the program at no cost to participants, their insurance, or their healthcare providers.
Source: Akouos, Inc
Image: Blueprint Genetics