SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 4, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sera Prognostics, Inc., a women's healthcare company, today announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has agreed to join the Company's Series B financing, which will bring the total transaction to $25 million. The additional funding will help Sera expand the reach of its proteomic technology, to develop new tests designed to predict the risk of preterm birth for women in developing countries around the world.
"We are pleased to have the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation agree to join us as an investor. This collaboration has the potential to help address the enormous global challenge in preterm birth by identifying risks early in pregnancy with the goal of improving the health of mothers and infants worldwide," said Gregory C. Critchfield, M.D., M.S., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sera Prognostics. "We believe that our technologies will help clinicians around the globe to make a real difference for their patients."
"Preterm birth affects more than 15 million infants worldwide every year, with particularly severe consequences in developing countries," said Trevor Mundel, president of Global Health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "There is a great need for tests that identify the risk of preterm birth and other complications of pregnancy, so that effective early interventions can be used to improve the health of mothers and children everywhere. We look forward to working with Sera Prognostics in this innovative area of science."
According to the March of Dimes' Global Action Report on Preterm Birth from 2012, each year more than 15 million infants are born prematurely worldwide and one million die from preterm birth complications. In addition, many experience lifetime visual, hearing and learning disabilities. These rates are rising and today preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn death and the second leading cause of death in children under age five.1
Sera has completed enrollment of 5,500 patients from eleven U.S. clinical sites in its landmark Proteomic Assessment of Preterm Risk (PAPR) clinical study and expects results to be available during the second quarter of 2015. PAPR is the largest singleton pregnancy proteomic study enrolled in the U.S. to date for the purpose of developing a broadly generalizable preterm birth predictor. Sera and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will use the experience from the PAPR study and the development of Sera's PreTRM™ test to advance the development of a new tool that can be effectively and economically deployed in underserved developing countries to identify women's risk of preterm birth.
Sera's PreTRM™ test will use a routine blood sample obtained during the second trimester of pregnancy to provide an early and individualized assessment of a woman's risk of preterm birth. Upon launch in the U.S., commercial testing will be performed at Sera's state-of-the-art CLIA laboratory with results returned to referring physicians. Physicians may then use this information to help guide clinical decisions with respect to personalized interventions intended to improve newborn health and potentially reduce the costs of healthcare delivery, including prolonged stays in neonatal intensive care units. The annual public healthcare cost of caring for preterm infants in the U.S. in 2005 was estimated in an Institute of Medicine Report at more than $26 billion.
About Preterm Birth
The global impact of preterm birth affects 15 million infants born each year, with 1 million deaths occurring from prematurity. Of the 4 million babies born annually in the U.S., approximately one in nine, or approximately 11 percent, is born preterm. Preterm birth is defined as any birth before 37 weeks gestation, and is the leading cause of illness and death in newborns. Preterm birth is associated with a significantly increased risk of major long-term medical complications, including learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, chronic respiratory illness, intellectual disability, seizures, and vision and hearing loss. The complications from preterm birth can also extend beyond the first year of life, and generate significant costs throughout the lives of affected children.
About Sera Prognostics, Inc.
Sera Prognostics is a private biotechnology company developing innovative diagnostic tests designed for the early prediction of preterm birth risk and other pregnancy complications. Sera's tests are designed to help better inform the care of a mother and her unborn child during pregnancy, and potentially lead to improved health. The company has assembled a strong management team and Board of Directors with significant clinical development and women's healthcare diagnostic experience. Sera's PAPR study is one of the world's largest and broadest clinical trials to validate the performance of the Company's PreTRM™ test for predicting the risk of preterm birth. The study is fully enrolled and results are expected during the second quarter of 2015. In January 2015, the Company announced the initial $20 million closing on its Series B financing led by Chione, Ltd, Domain Associates, InterWest Partners, Catalyst Health Ventures, UpStart Life Sciences Capital, and Osage University Partners. Sera Prognostics is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.seraprognostics.com.
CONTACT: Company Contact: Andrew Sauter Chief Financial Officer firstname.lastname@example.org (801) 990-0772 Media Contact: Terri Clevenger Continuum Health Communications email@example.com (203) 856-4326Source:Sera Prognostics, Inc.