NHS adopts Next-Gen Sequencing to Test for Birth Defects

02/11/2016 - 3 minutes

Despite a lawsuit from Illumina, Premaitha forged ahead with its NGS-based non-invasive prenatal test; the NHS just adopted it as a standard screen.

timthumb-phpWith its seemingly infinite applications, next-generation sequencing (NGS) is a hot area, especially for diagnostics biotechs. A number have been founded in recent years to develop prenatal tests for birth defects, and many of them have consequently been sued by Illumina, the US-based company clutching 75% of the NGS market share.

Premaitha‘s time came in March 2015, but the UK biotech pressed on with IONA, its prenatal blood test for Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau Syndromes. Its courage and perseverance seem to have paid off, as the NHS has decided to adopt the test for women whose future children are deemed to be at high risk for these birth defects.

This move by the NHS follows on a recommendation in January from the National Screening Committee that the non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) be instituted as part of the standard fetal anomaly screening program.

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