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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC (April 12, 2005) - Metabolon, Inc., a leader in the application of metabolomics to discover novel biomarkers, today announced it received a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to study amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The award is part of the Small Business Innovation Research program administered by the National Institutes of Health.

This is Metabolon’s third grant in the area of ALS.  The first grant was awarded in conjunction with Massachusetts General Hospital and was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.  The second grant was funded by The ALS Association and focused on cerebral spinal fluid. 

“It is clear from the receipt of our third grant that Metabolon’s technology has great potential to discover novel biomarkers for the diagnosis and treatment of ALS,” said Dr. John Ryals, president and CEO of Metabolon.

ALS, often referred to as Lou Gherig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Approximately 5,600 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. Once diagnosed, the average life expectancy of an ALS patient is two to five years. Currently, there is only one drug on the market for the treatment of ALS.

Metabolon will test plasma samples obtained from patients using its industry-leading metabolomics platform to identify biomarkers for ALS. These biomarkers will be compared to those of other motor neuron diseases to determine if the ALS signature is unique or common to other motor neuron disorders. In addition, Metabolon will study how biomarkers for ALS change with disease progression. The identification of unique biomarkers for ALS could become the basis for a diagnostic test and new therapeutics.

About Metabolon

Metabolon is an industry leader in the discovery of biomarkers through the use of metabolomics, a powerful and new scientific approach for the discovery and development of drugs and the early diagnosis of disease states.  Metabolon's patent-pending technology is poised to dramatically impact drug discovery and development processes by accurately measuring the spectrum of biochemical changes and mapping these changes to metabolic pathways.  Metabolon's technology can identify safer compounds for development, shorten the time for drugs to get to market and identify novel biomarkers for earlier disease detection.  In conjunction with the NIH, Metabolon was recently honored as a recipient of the 2005 March of Dimes Award for Best Research in Prematurity. For additional information, visit

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