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Carmenta Acquires Option to License Stanford Technology for Preeclampsia Test

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Maternal and fetal biotechnology firm Carmenta Bioscience today said it has acquired an option for a worldwide, exclusive license from Stanford University for technology aimed at diagnosing and predicting preeclampsia.

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The technology was discovered by Carmenta Co-founders Atul Butte and Bruce Ling, who also hold staff positions at Stanford. Research by them led to the discovery of a combination of protein biomarkers in serum that can be used to identify pregnant women with preeclampsia, and an initial trial with samples from 64 mothers verified the clinical relevance of the biomarkers, Carmenta said.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm plans to use the technology to develop tests to diagnose preeclampsia in symptomatic and asymptomatic mothers, Matthew Cooper, president and CEO of Carmenta, said.

According to Carmenta, preeclampsia is a leading cause of preterm births and maternal-fetal deaths and between 5 percent and 8 percent of pregnant women develop the condition.

"For years, [maternal-fetal medicine doctors] and [obstetricians and gynecologists] have called for more objective, molecular diagnostic tests for preeclampsia," Cooper said in a statement. "Carmenta is answering that call by developing tests capable of both confirming clinical diagnosis and predicting preeclampsia. Identifying pregnant mothers at highest risk for preeclampsia will allow physicians to better monitor and intervene, resulting in improved clinical outcomes and economic benefit to the healthcare system."

Other firms also developing molecular tests for preeclampsia include GATC Biotech and its subsidiary LifeCodexx, which are using next-generation sequencing technology. Also, Sera Prognostics is developing a proteomics-based test.

Protein biomarker firm Pronota and metabolomics company Metabolomic Diagnostics are creating tests as part of an international consortium called Improved Pregnancy Outcomes via Early Detection, as GenomeWeb Daily News' sister publication ProteoMonitor reported in November.

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