As part of the agreement, select CareFirst members will have access to the Avise Lupus test to aid in the differential diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

SLE is the most common form of lupus, a complex, incurable autoimmune rheumatic disease. The collaboration is structured to demonstrate the efficacy and cost effectiveness of the test in both a primary care and rheumatology setting. Study results will be used by CareFirst to ensure maximum benefit to the patient when making future coverage decisions for the AVISE Lupus test.

The effort is part of CareFirst’s Healthworx program, through which CareFirst works with innovative companies to proactively develop the evidence needed to make new technologies and advances available to its members.

Diagnosing autoimmune diseases, especially SLE, is difficult because signs and symptoms vary considerably from patient to patient. Misdiagnosis can lead to serious consequences including use of inappropriate treatments and irreversible organ damage.

Currently, there is no single test to diagnose SLE. AVISE Lupus and its proprietary algorithm has been prospectively validated in clinical trials with over 1,200 patients demonstrating improved diagnostic accuracy compared to traditional biomarkers alone.

CareFirst vice president and chief medical officer Daniel Winn said: “Our Healthworx program is designed to expedite the process through which it can be discerned which promising innovative diagnostic tests, medical devices, digital technologies and treatments should be deployed for the benefit of our members.”

Through this collaboration, Exagen and CareFirst will also complete an exploratory study to determine how knowledge of AVISE Lupus results impact primary care physician practice referral patterns.

Exagen CEO Ron Rocca said: “We are delighted to be working with CareFirst, as we share their interest in seeking to leverage innovation incorporating our novel and proprietary Cell Bound Complement Activation Products (CB-CAPs) for improved health outcomes.

“This collaboration aims to shorten the time to diagnosis for these patients suffering with a long-term chronic disease.”

Exagen chief medical officer Dr Arthur Weinstein said: “I have worked with CareFirst as a provider for a number of years and am excited to continue to work with CareFirst to advance innovation. This is a unique collaboration which has the potential of ultimately benefitting patients with SLE by enabling earlier diagnosis and consequently earlier and more appropriate treatment.”

Source: Company Press Release