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Sanford Health & TruGenomix announce partnership to commercialize genomic test for PTSD

Wednesday, July 29, 2020  
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Sanford Health, the largest provider of rural healthcare in the country, announced an $800,000 investment in TruGenomix, a veteran-owned precision behavioral health company.

As part of the strategic partnership, Sanford Health will support TruGenomix by providing its state-of-the-art lab and research capabilities to validate a first-to-market patented blood test for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The genomic test enables earlier identification and improves outcomes for high-risk populations, including veterans, active-duty service members, frontline health care workers, and first responders.

"We know genomic medicine will fundamentally change the way we deliver care," said Nathan Peterson, chief of staff, vice president, strategic planning and governance, Sanford Health. "We are honored to partner with TruGenomix and share in its commitment to provide personalized medicine solutions that improve the lives, health and future of our military service members, frontline healthcare workers, veterans and their families."

Sanford Imagenetics will sequence 2,000 samples using TruGen-1, a laboratory-developed blood test (LDT), which is based on decades of research culminating in a patent for gene expression biomarker profiles that identify an individual's risk of developing PTSD. These biomarkers were discovered and validated using blood samples from a diverse population of individuals who have experienced extreme trauma, including 9/11 first responders, military service members, sexual assault survivors and Holocaust survivors and their descendants.

"We cannot prevent trauma, but we can reduce suffering by identifying those at higher risk," said Charles Cathlin, CEO and co-founder, TruGenomix. "We can think of no better partner than Sanford Health to support us in the further development and commercialization of our genomic test that will allow clinicians to intervene earlier, deliver more targeted treatment for behavioral health disorders, and save lives."

PTSD can affect anyone at any age. One out of 11 Americans suffers from PTSD, with a higher prevalence reported in veterans, soldiers and first responders. The incidence of PTSD is rising amid the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for health care workers and others on the front lines. Women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Amid Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, TruGenomix's African American, US Veteran and female founders and executive team are dedicated to serving these populations and to advocating for more minority representation in leadership roles within the field of genomics.

Sanford Health and TruGenomix also will pursue contract and development opportunities in the genetic-testing field.

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