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NIPT Tests Abound

With San Carlos, Calif.-based Natera announcing the launch of its prenatal DNA testing, Nature Medicine's Spoonful of Medicine blog says competition in that area is heating up. Bio-Reference Laboratories announced earlier this week, according to our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News, that it would offer Natera's test. In addition to Natera's Panorama test that identifies chromosomal abnormalities, Ariosa Diagnostics, Sequenom, and Verinata Health, which was recently purchased by Illumina, offer similar services.

David Ferreiro, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co, tells a Spoonful of Medicine that the prenatal testing market represents "a billion dollar opportunity," especially as some health insurers are moving to cover the tests.

The costs of the tests, Spoonful of Medicine adds, vary, though some differences may be chalked up to what the various tests can identify. The blog also offers a handy chart comparing the methods the tests use, their prices, and their sensitivity and accuracy.