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Verinata Secures $46.5M for Development, Commercialization of Fetal Trisomy Test

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Verinata Health said this week that it has raised around $46.5 million in a Series C financing round, with an additional $2 million expected to close by the end of the month.

It plans to use the proceeds to fund continued research and development and the eventual commercialization of its sequencing-based noninvasive prenatal diagnostic test for chromosomal abnormalities, such as trisomy 21.

The funding round was led by existing investors Mohr Davidow Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures, and Alloy Ventures.

Verinata's CEO Caren Mason said in a statement that the financing demonstrates investor confidence in the company as it proceeds "rapidly on the path to commercialization of our first diagnostic test."

In May, the company published an initial validation of its test, which is based on technology licensed from Stanford University for detecting aneuploidies (CSN 5/4/2011).

Researchers at Verinata are currently conducting a larger validation study of the test's diagnostic capabilities for trisomy 21 and other trisomies. The study includes thousands of samples from more than 50 sites in the US, and the company expects to complete it by the end of the year.

Verinata plans to launch its test in the first quarter of 2012, which will pit it against Sequenom's MaterniT21 test for detecting trisomy 21 from maternal plasma, which is expected to launch either in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2012 (CSN 8/5/2011).

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