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SeraCare Licenses UCSF Technology to Develop NIPT Reference Materials

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – SeraCare Life Sciences today announced a licensing agreement with the University of California, San Francisco for the use of its trisomy 21, 18, and 13 trophoblast cell line materials to develop reference materials for non-invasive prenatal testing of chromosomal abnormalities. 

In conjunction with the deal, SeraCare has launched an early access program for circulating, cell-free fetal DNA T21, T18, and T13 aneuploidy reference materials developed with the UCSF technology. 

As part of the agreement, Atlanta-based SeraCare will pay UCSF an upfront fee of an undisclosed amount. The university will also receive additional payments based on the achievement of certain development and commercial milestones. 

With next-generation sequencing-based NIPT methods rapidly growing in popularity — Cowen & Co.'s Doug Schenkel this week pegged the global market opportunity for NIPT at $10 billion, and the US opportunity at $1.5 billion — SeraCare cited a need for reference materials to ensure accuracy of the technology. 

"This is especially critical as labs scale up their operation and need to train, validate, optimize, and monitor ongoing performance of their next-generation sequencing or microarray assays," the firm said in a statement.