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Premaitha Health to Provide Iona Test to St George's; First NHS Facility to Offer NIPT Screening

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Premaitha Health will provide its non-invasive prenatal Iona test to London-based St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, making it the first UK National Health Service facility to offer in-house NIPT screening, the two organizations said today.

Under the three-year project award, which resulted from a competitive bidding process, Premaitha and St George's plan to establish a UK Centre of Excellence for Prenatal Screening that will offer the Iona test to pregnant women throughout the UK's National Health Service as well as privately. Following the project, the contract can be extended on an annual basis.

The Iona test, which recently became the first NIPT to be CE-marked, uses next-generation sequencing to gauge the risk of trisomies 21, 18, and 13 in a fetus. Test results will be available "in a matter of days," according to the partners.

Premaitha CEO Stephen Little said in a statement that the award is a "strong endorsement" of the test and that his company is working to get the Iona testing "up and running as soon as possible" at St George's.

The firm recently said that Genoma of Switzerland will use the Iona test as part of its NIPT service, constituting Premaitha's first sale in Europe.

In the meantime, Illumina and its subsidiary Verinata Health are suing Premaitha in the UK, claiming it infringes two of their European patents relating to the use of cell-free DNA for NIPT.