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Dr. James Januzzi, lead author of the study. (Massachusetts General Hospital Photo)

Prevencio, a Kirkland, Wash., based biotech startup, today announced the results of the first study on its HART test, which predicts coronary artery disease and other potential heart problems.

The study — conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital and published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology — found that the HART test correctly predicted that patients were suffering from coronary artery disease in 90 percent of cases.

That’s better than current standards of care, which tend to return many more false positives. Accurate diagnosis of coronary artery disease is important to ensuring patients aren’t given unnecessary, costly treatments.

A correct diagnosis means patients who need those treatments will get them, and can also be a predictor of future heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues, the leading cause of death in the U.S. and around the world.

“These are significant results which have the potential to establish a new standard of care and the potential to save millions of lives,” James Januzzi, the study’s lead author, said in a press release. Januzzi teaches medicine at Harvard Medical School in addition to his work as a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Rhonda Rhyne, CEO and President of Prevencio. (Prevencio Photo)

“With better diagnostic and predictive methods, we can aim to better diagnose coronary artery disease, initiate therapy and lifestyle change earlier, and possibly prevent complications such as heart attacks, while simultaneously improving a patient’s quality of life,” Januzzi said in the release.

The test could also have important implications for bringing down healthcare costs, both because it has been shown to return less false positives and because it can lead to earlier intervention to prevent more serious and costly complications.

In a previous interview with GeekWire, Prevencio CEO Rhonda Rhyne explained that the HART test works by measuring the levels of several proteins that point to cardiac issues. However, unlike other tests, HART then uses an algorithm to analyze those protein levels more accurately.

Prevencio raised $2 million last year to develop HART and its other suite of cardiovascular tests, which operate on the same underlying tech. It plans to raise an additional $18 million this year.

The company said it plans to conduct clinical trials of HART in 2018, then submit the test to the FDA for approval.

Prevencio’s board includes some heavy hitters in the health sciences and biotech arena, including Dr. John F. Cramer III of Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett and a former Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.

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