Illumina announced that it will be acquiring Verinata Health, a leading provider of non-invasive pre-natal tests for identifying fetal chromosomal abnormalities. As per the acquisition deal, Illumina will pay $350 million plus up to $100 million through 2015.
Verinata Health, the California based company, has a product verifi prenatal test that can test pregnant woman’s blood and analyze DNA to detect the most common fetal chromosome abnormalities.
The abnormalities that can be detected by verifi test include Down syndrome (trisomy 21 or T21), Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18 or T18) and Patau syndrome (trisomy 13 or T13). Just a month ago, Verinata Health started offering to sex chromosome aneuploidies; Turner syndrome (Monosomy X), Triple X (XXX), Klinefelter syndrome (XXY) and Jacobs syndrome (XYY).. The verifi test can be offered to pregnant women as early as 10 weeks gestation.
Announcing the acquisition news in a press release Illumina said the non-invasive prenatal testing is the most rapidly growing application of next-generation sequencing and with the acquisition of Verinata; its test and patent portfolio, Illumina will be at the forefront of next-gen prenatal testing. Jay Flatley, President and CEO of Illumina, said
This agreement with Verinata demonstrates Illumina’s commitment to developing innovative diagnostic solutions and providing our partners with the most advanced technologies for improved patient care. Building on the recent acquisition of BlueGnome Ltd. and our expertise in next-generation sequencing, this announcement further establishes Illumina as a leader in reproductive health.
Dr. Jeffrey Bird, Executive Chairman and CEO of Verinata Health, said
Together, Illumina and Verinata are well-suited to drive the adoption of the non-invasive prenatal testing market. With approximately 500,000 high-risk pregnancies annually in the United States and an estimated four million pregnancies in total, there is a clear need for such tests.
Given the recent American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and Society of Maternal and Fetal Medicine (SMFM) joint opinion that recommended cell–free DNA prenatal testing as a first or second trimester option for women at increased risk of aneuploidy, we believe more physicians will be adopting NIPT.
Illumina also claimed that the non-invasive prenatal test market is estimated to be more than $600 million in 2013 and Illumina expects the domestic market will grow to perform 1.5 to 2 million tests. And Illumina hopes to gain a significant proportion of the market.
A Little Bit of Verinata Health’s History
Verinata Helath had its origin in Boston. Here is the little background on Verinata Health from Tufts Geneticist Diana Bianchi, who is on the Verinata Health clinical advisory board, in an interview to BioIT World
Verinata Health started as a company dedicated to microfluidic technology based on intellectual property from MIT and Harvard. The first name of the company was Living Microsystems and it was based in Boston. It later changed its name to Artemis Health. They moved to the Bay Area and in 2011 and subsequently changed their name to Verinata Health.