Metabolon will work with Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as part of a biomarker study for Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS.

The study will be funded by The ALS Association (ALSA). ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but it is best known as ALS.

“There is an urgent need to find a faster and more reliable diagnostic process that will enable earlier treatment and improve chances that therapy will alter the course of ALS,” said Dr. Lucie Bruijn, science director and vice president of The ALS Association, in a statement.

Cost of the study was not disclosed. The ALS Association is paying for the study through funds raised as part of its Lou Gehrig Challenge. ALSA has raised $27 million for research since 1991 and is involved in more than 100 projects.

The intent of “Identification of Diagnostic Biomarkers and Therapeutic Targets for ALS” is to find a more rapid and accurate diagnostic test for ALS using biomarkers found in cerebrospinal fluid and blood, according to Metabolon.

The study calls for the analysis of blood and cerebrospinal fluid from a control group and from ALS patients using two different technologies.

“Metabolon will test samples obtained from patients using its metabolomics platform that will search for signatures of ALS by measuring the spectrum of biochemical changes and mapping these changes in metabolic pathways,” the company said in a statement. “In pilot studies, Metabolon has established metabolic profiles from the blood of ALS patients for comparison to profiles from control groups. Metabolon will be able to extend its findings by expanding the study to a larger sample set and analyzing the profiles in cerebrospinal fluid.”

Rima Kaddurah-Daouk, Ph.D., and co-founder of Metabolon, will be a principal researcher in the new study.

“Using our innovative metabolomics approach, we will be evaluating global biochemical defects in ALS in ways not possible before,” he said. “We will ultimately be able to draw a map that can highlight diagnostic markers for ALS and novel targets for drug design.”

Metabolon focuses on metabolomics, and its patent-pending technology could have an impact not only on drug discovery but also measuring biochemical changes as they occur and mapping them.