hATTR Compass, Free Genetic Testing and Counseling Program, Expanding

Marisa Wexler MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler MS |

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late-onset FAP

Ambry Genetics and Akcea Therapeutics, an affiliate of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, are expanding a free genetic testing and counseling program called hATTR Compass.

hATTR Compass is a no-cost program for confidential genetic testing and genetic counseling for people who are suspected of having hereditary ATTR amyloidosis, also called familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAP). It was launched a year ago by the two companies.

This expansion will include an increase in sales force and marketing efforts, all aimed at raising awareness and education about this program among patients and physicians.

Part of hATTR Compass is a genetic test can help diagnose patients or confirm diagnoses. It screens for mutations in 81 genes that cause hereditary nervous system problems and 92 genes that are linked to heart disease, including mutations in TTR, which cause hereditary ATTR amyloidosis.

The program also provides resources for both healthcare providers and patients to help guide them through the process of genetic testing.

“Up until recently, patients — especially those located in local communities further away from specialized amyloidosis treatment centers — have been slipping through our fingers,” Andrew Darlington, DO, of Piedmont Healthcare said in a press release. “hATTR Compass gives local neurologists and cardiologists a tool to correctly diagnose patients early in the disease course and begin treatment as soon as possible close to home.”

Treatment that can be started earlier is considered extremely important for better outcomes. This program also intends to  minimize the likelihood of people going undiagnosed for hereditary ATTR amyloidosis or being misdiagnosed.

“hATTR Compass has helped enable early diagnosis and treatment for people who are suffering from this rapidly progressive disease and it allows them to get answers about their disease from their own local physician,” said Sarah Boyce, president Akcea Therapeutics.

“As a result of hATTR Compass, as well as a new treatment that can be administered by the patient or caregiver, Akcea is helping patients receive the answers they seek, obtain the life-changing treatment they need and maintain the independence they cherish in the comfort of their own communities,” she added.

Akcea markets Tegsedi, approved to treat adults with polyneuropathy tied to hATTR amyloidosis in the U.S., EU, and Canada. It was co-developed with Ionis.

This test has been used by more than 700 physicians in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada, the release states. Eligibility extends to adults (18 and older) living in those countries or U.S. territory with a family history of hATTR amyloidosis or hallmark symptoms of the disease.