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Sequenom Is Improving Prenatal Screening, in Steps

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

There's been a buzz around Sequenom's prenatal diagnostic technology and the anticipated launch next year of a blood based test for Down's syndrome. Although success is far from assured, the development of that assay has done much to resurrect the company's prospects.

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Noninvasive Prenatal Diagnostics: How Much Closer to Reality?

Whether the astonishing missteps by Sequenom, which earlier this year disclosed it could not support its data for a non-invasive Down Syndrome test, were merely poor management or a reality check for the field of non-invasive prenatal disgnostics, the NIPD opportunity is compelling. But the profession also understandably balks at obtaining information that is not then clinically actionable -- an issue that could further amplify in importance as technologies like microarrays and direct DNA sequencing increase become more prevalent.

Noninvasive Prenatal Diagnostics: How Much Closer to Reality?

Whether the astonishing missteps by Sequenom, which earlier this year disclosed it could not support its data for a non-invasive Down Syndrome test, were merely poor management or a reality check for the field of non-invasive prenatal disgnostics, the NIPD opportunity is compelling. But the profession also understandably balks at obtaining information that is not then clinically actionable -- an issue that could further amplify in importance as technologies like microarrays and direct DNA sequencing increase become more prevalent.

Sequenom's Failure Highlights an Underappreciated Risk of Biotech Investing

Sequenom's late April announcement that the R&D data associated with its soon-to-be-launched test for Down syndrome "was mishandled by individuals in our company" sent a cold shiver throughout the biotech investment community. As if the biotech investment model wasn't risky enough, the firm had to go and introduce a new one.

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