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Startup Sera Prognostics Raises $1.4M

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Women's health diagnostic test startup Sera Prognostics today said it has raised $1.4 million in a Series A-1 round, which will go toward development of a test for preterm birth risk.

Leading the A-1 round was UpStart Ventures, which founded Sera in 2008. Catalyst Health Ventures and individual investors also participated in the round. Dennis Farrar, a partner with UpStart, is the company's chairman and CEO.

The company is developing a blood-based test that measures proprietary biomarkers that it said is "highly" predictive of preterm birth risk. The biomarkers were identified by Steven Graves, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Brigham Young University, and M. Sean Esplin, an associate professor and high-risk obstetrician at the University of Utah School of Medicine and co-founder of Sera Prognostics, the firm said.

The Salt Lake City-based firm has licensed the serum proteomics discovery technology and novel peptides, which are detectable only in pregnant women. Using the biomarkers, Sera was able to detect in two studies with greater than 90 percent accuracy women who went on to have preterm birth, when tested at 24 and 28 weeks of gestation, it said in a statement.

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