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Sequenom Inks Additional Distribution Deals for T21 Test

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - Sequenom today announced that it has signed several distribution deals outside of the US that will expand access to the firm's MaterniT21 PLUS testing service outside the United States.

The San Diego-based molecular diagnostics firm didn't disclose the name of any of the new distributors but said the deals cover Japan, Hong Kong, Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands; and Israel.

As a result of the agreements, Sequenom has increased the expected 52-week run rate for the test from 65,000 to 70,000 total samples. It added that as of Aug. 18, its Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine had accessioned nearly 27,000 MaterniT21 PLUS test samples since the beginning of the year.

"We believe the completion of these international agreements represents an important advance in access to and future adoption of our technology in the international prenatal care market," Sequenom Chairman and CEO Harry Hixson said in a statement. "We look forward to working closely with each of our partners in these countries and to continuing our efforts to further expand access for expectant parents around the world."

Hixson had said during the firm's second-quarter conference call at the end of July that Sequenom had signed agreements to expand the availability of the test into international markets, specifically in northern and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Japan. But he didn't provide any further details.

The firm's German licensee for the technology underlying the test, LifeCodexx, recently announced that it had gained the CE Mark for its its trisomy 21 test, called PraenaTest.

Sequenom also said that it has has also completed a number of steps designed to improve functionality and enhance capacity of the MaterniT21 PLUS test. Among those steps, the test now includes a report on the presence of Y chromosomal material, which has been validated in the same original clinical cohort as trisomies 21, 18 and 13.

The firm also has increased multiplexing for the test. It said that the new 12-plex process should more than double sequencing capacity per instrument.

Sequenom also noted that it has completed its previously announced sales force expansion. It now has more than 70 field representatives active across the US.

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