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Eastern Biotech, BGI Health Team to Bring NIPD Test to Middle East

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Eastern Biotech and Life Sciences, Dubai and BGI Health have partnered to make available to parts of the Middle East a non-invasive prenatal diagnostic test for detecting trisomy 21.

Eastern Biotech launched the test called Trigene on Thursday, and it and BGI Health are also making the next-generation sequencing-based test available in the United Arab Emirates and other countries that are part of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, Eastern Biotech said.

The test detects cell-free fetal DNA in maternal blood for the genetic mutations associated with T21, which causes Down syndrome. In studies, Trigene has achieved 99.9 percent accuracy and can detect as early as 11 weeks into a pregnancy whether the fetus carries the genetic mutation, according to Eastern Biotech.

The test is globally marketed by Hong Kong-based BGI Health, a commercial arm of BGI, under the name Nifty. In the fall it announced a deal with GENNET to offer Nifty in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Eastern Biotech highlighted Trigene's ability to detect T21, but in announcing its deal with GENNET, BGI Health pointed out that Nifty also detects other fetal aneuploidies, including T18 and T13.

"I believe that this product launch is just the start of a long association with BGI to bring many more cost-effective genetic diagnostic products to the region," Faruq Badiuddin, chairman of Eastern Biotech, said in a statement. "We are hoping to work with BGI in larger projects that involve other genetic disorders, especially cancer genetics, monogenic disorders, and thalassemia, which has a very high incidence in the region."

Eastern Biotech is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and distributes genetic tests to the Middle East region.

Financial and other terms of its deal with BGI Health were not disclosed.