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Sage Bionetworks Launches the Agora Platform Making Curated Genomic Analysis of Alzheimer's Disease Widely Available


Researchers to access list of novel targets for Alzheimer's disease

Sage Bionetworks announces the launch of the
Agora platform
( an interactive, web-based
tool that allows researchers to explore curated genomic analyses of
Alzheimer's Disease (AD), including a list of early candidate target
nominations for AD. The analyses accessible through Agora represent the
culmination of over five years of research from the dozens of scientists
that are part of the NIH-led Accelerating Medicines Partnership -
Alzheimer's Disease (AMP-AD) Target Discovery and Preclinical Validation
Project. AMP-AD is a precompetitive public private partnership led by
NIH's National Institute on Aging (NIA) and managed by the Foundation
for the NIH (FNIH), bringing together the government, industry and
non-profit sectors to transform the way disease-relevant therapeutic
targets are discovered and validated.

The AMP-AD program has generated a wealth of genomic, RNA expression,
proteomic, and metabolomic data from over 3000 human brain and plasma
samples collected in several NIA-supported AD cohorts and brain banks.
The raw and processed data have been made widely accessible to qualified
researchers through the AMP-AD Knowledge Portal. The datasets available
through the Knowledge Portal have been used by the AMP-AD consortia
members to produce hundreds of novel scientific research papers. In
addition to AMP-AD investigators, external researchers have benefitted
from the data sharing policy mandating rapid and broad sharing of data
and have made critical new observations, including a recently
published study
that highlighted a previously uncharacterized
relationship of human herpes virus with AD.

Although use of primary data is typically limited to investigators with
bioinformatic expertise, AMP-AD investigators have also generated
analyses that should be useful to a broader set of researchers. The
launch of the Agora portal represents the first time that the analyses
have been shared outside of the AMP-AD consortia members, which should
enable additional groundbreaking discoveries.

"Agora enables researchers to leverage AMP-AD analyses to advance their
own scientific questions," says Ben Logsdon, Director of
Neurodegenerative Disease Research at Sage Bionetworks and the lead
investigator on the Agora project. "These results were developed to
answer questions posed by AMP-AD researchers, but they are broadly
useful. Agora provides an easy tool to enable the exploration and reuse
of these results by anyone."

"The most exciting results featured in this early release of Agora is
the AMP-AD nominated targets list - a set of genes and proteins derived
from unbiased computational analyses of rich human multi-omics data,"
said Suzana Petanceska, Ph.D., Program Director at the NIA, overseeing
the AMP-AD Target Discovery Consortium. "These molecular signals could
illuminate new disease biology or serve as novel therapeutic targets,
she explained. "We are purposely releasing them at an early stage of the
target evaluation process to allow us to integrate the input of external
researchers and to crowdsource the follow-on evaluation," added

"Because AMP-AD operates under open science principles, researchers
rapidly disclose data and results and, in turn, they receive early peer
review to help guide research decisions," said Lara Mangravite,
President of Sage Bionetworks and an AMP-AD Principal Investigator.
"Agora extends this approach so that external investigators can get
actively involved in evaluation of the AMP-AD targets as well as further
their own research by evaluating the performance of their genes of
interest against multiple computational meta-analyses."

"AMP-AD is a clear response to the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's
Disease," said Eliezer Masliah, M.D., director of the Division of
Neuroscience at NIA. "It is enabling precision medicine and facilitating
the principles of open science and rapid dissemination of new targets
with more shots on goal for AD."

Agora will be frequently updated to incorporate the latest analyses from
AMP-AD and its affiliate AD consortia. The initial release includes
differential expression and co-expression network meta-analyses across
four human RNA-sequence data sets. Future releases will expand to
include human proteomic and metabolomic analyses, comparative
evaluations of disease signatures across species, and integration of
druggability and tractability information to guide selection of targets
for early drug discovery. Analyses developed within other consortia in
the NIA's AD Translational Research portfolio including MODEL-AD, M2OVE-AD,
and AD Resilience will also be integrated into future iterations.

About AMP-AD: AMP-AD is a project of the Accelerating Medicines
Partnership, a joint venture among the National Institutes of Health,
the Food and Drug Administration, 12 biopharmaceutical and life science
companies and 13 non-profit organizations, managed by the Foundation for
the NIH, to identify and validate promising biological targets of
disease. AMP-AD is one of the four initiatives under the AMP umbrella;
the other three are focused on type 2 diabetes (AMP-T2D), rheumatoid
arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (AMP-RA/SLE) and Parkinson's
disease (AMP-PD). More information is available at the AMP-AD website.

About Sage Bionetworks (

Sage Bionetworks is a nonprofit biomedical research organization founded
in 2009 to promote innovations in biomedicine by enabling a
community-based approach to scientific inquiries and discoveries. In
pursuit of this mission, we have combined science, technology, and
governance structures to assemble an information commons for sharing
resources and insights. The commons is used to support open research
collaborations and innovative crowd-sourced analytical Challenges; it
also empowers citizens and patients to partner with researchers through
mobile health technologies. At Sage Bionetworks, we work to make science
more open, collaborative, and inclusive.

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