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Sera Prognostics Raises $19.3M, Names New CEO

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sera Prognostics today announced the closing of a $19.3 million Series A financing, which it plans to use to complete a clinical trial and launch its test for predicting preterm birth.

The Salt Lake City firm also announced the appointment of Gregory Critchfield as its new CEO.

The investment was led by VC firms InterWest Partners, Domain Associates, and Catalyst Health Ventures. Its founder UpStart Life Sciences Capital and new investor Osage University Partners also participated in the round.

Doug Fisher of InterWest Partners, Kim Kamdar of Domain Associates, and Joshua Phillips of Catalyst Health Ventures are joining Sera's board, the company said.

Proceeds for the round will be used to complete Sera's Proteomic Assessment of Preterm Risk clinical trial of its preterm diagnostic test and subsequent commercial launch. The company completed a $1.4 million Series A-1 financing in October 2010.

Its ongoing multi-center clinical study is enrolling patients from sites across the US and will provide prospective blood samples collected at multiple points during pregnancy, Sera said. Results from the trial and other planned studies will then be used to support the translation of the firm's technology into a commercial format that will be clinically validated prior to commercial launch.

Critchfield, who had been the president of Myriad Genetics or 12 years before retiring in 2010, said in a statement that Sera anticipates the trial to be completed by the end of 2012, and the launch of its test to happen "shortly thereafter."

Critchfield was appointed executive chairman of Sera's board in April and replaces Mark J. Ostrowski as CEO. Ostrowski was appointed CEO in April and is now Sera's Chief Operating Officer, "where he is using his commercial expertise to oversee operations and get the PTB test to market quickly," a company spokesman said.

No reason was given for his departure from the position.

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