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Illumina, UK Organization Partner on NIPT

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Birmingham Women's NHS Foundation Trust in the UK said this week it is partnering with Illumina to develop a non-invasive prenatal test. 

As part of the service partnership, Illumina will "be sharing [its] well-validated technology" with the trust, which runs Birmingham Women's Hospital. It will continue developing its test, which will screen for trisomies 21, 18, and 13, through the remainder of the summer and possibly begin offering it to patients in September. 

The trust said on its website that while the testing service will not be covered by the country's public health insurance, it "is a real step forward to be able to provide this service in a hospital environment by [National Heath Service] scientists. It also paves the way for the service to be commissioned for all NHS patients in the future."  

Illumina currently offers the Verifi NIPT through its Verinata business. It is unclear whether the test being developed by Birmingham will be based on that technology. On deadline, the company did not comment. 

During Illumina's second-quarter earnings conference call last week, CEO Jay Flatley outlined the firm's efforts to expand its NIPT business outside the US, including plans to launch a CE-IVD marked NIPT on the NextSeq platform, as well as plans to get CE marking for the VeriSeq NIPT product as an in vitro diagnostic solution.

Flatley said that in the second quarter, Illumina had signed five new partnerships outside the US to develop and run the VeriSeq NIPT protocol and had 19 such deals to eventually run the test from partnering labs. 

The Birmingham Women's NHS Foundation Trust did not respond to a request for comment.