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Sequenom Announces Launch of SensiGene Fetal RHD Genotyping Test

February 4, 2010

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Sequenom, Inc. (Nasdaq: SQNM) today announced the launch of the SensiGene(TM) Fetal RHD Genotyping test by Sequenom’s CAP accredited and CLIA-certified laboratory, Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine (Sequenom CMM). This is the company’s first laboratory developed test powered by its SEQureDx(TM) technology.

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In the United States, there are approximately 528,000 pregnancies in Rhesus D (RhD) negative women every year, and almost all of these women could benefit from an assessment of the RhD type of the fetus. RhD type can be determined by an invasive procedure, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS), but both procedures involve risk to the fetus. Currently in the United States, most RhD negative women are managed without knowing the fetal RHD status.

The benefits of the noninvasive SensiGene Fetal RHD Genotyping test include:

  • Aid to physicians in creating a more informed strategy to manage the care of pregnant RhD negative women.
  • Reduction in need for invasive procedures, such as amniocentesis or CVS.
  • First trimester detection.
  • Fetal identifiers – a control to confirm the presence of fetal DNA thus ensuring that a RHD negative result for a female fetus is due to the measurement of fetal rather than maternal nucleic acid in the sample.

“The introduction of this test is an important development in improving patient care for pregnant women in both the United States and in Europe,” said Dr. Wolfgang Holzgreve, director at the University Hospital, Freiburg and Sequenom clinical advisory board member. “Fetal RHD genotyping utilizing real-time PCR has been widely used in Europe for over a decade, and has led to better patient management and is even considered for reduction of unnecessary treatment with Anti-D immune globulin. Based upon Sequenom’s validation study, the SensiGene Fetal RHD Genotyping test appears to offer a higher level of sensitivity and specificity compared with the real-time PCR methodology.”

“Launching the first test based on our SEQureDx technology is an important milestone for Sequenom and our CLIA lab – the Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine,” stated Shawn M. Marcell, vice president, molecular diagnostics. “We believe this test represents a significant and important advancement for prenatal care. Our ability to launch this test and bring it to patients is, in no small part, directly related to the strong support of the Fetal Medicine Foundation, UK, which supplied clinical samples to us.”

About the SensiGene Fetal RHD Genotyping Test

The new SensiGene Fetal RHD Genotyping test is designed to detect circulating cell-free fetal (ccff) DNA from maternal blood and examine multiple regions of the gene that are known to be the most common genetic basis of RhD negative phenotypes. The test interrogates four targets within three exons located on the RHD gene on chromosome one. The test also incorporates male-specific targets on the Y chromosome, because it has been demonstrated that Rh alloimmunization occurs more frequently in male fetuses. A quality control metric is also included to ensure detection of DNA. A fetal identifier control is further employed as a reflex control assay that detects fetal DNA in a sample within a large background of maternal DNA. The test is performed on Sequenom’s proprietary MassARRAY® system, which allows direct mass measurement of nucleic acids.

During the development course of feasibility, optimization, verification and validation more than 500 clinical samples were tested. The final blinded validation study, in which over 200 samples were evaluated, was performed in conjunction with the Fetal Medicine Foundation, and un-blinding was performed by Dr. Arnold Cohen, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the Albert Einstein Medical Center, in Philadelphia. In this validation study the SensiGene Fetal RHD Genotyping test demonstrated:

  • Sensitivity of 97.2% (92.9% – 98.9%) at a 95% confidence interval.
  • Specificity of 96.9% (89.5% – 99.2%) at a 95% confidence interval.

“Successfully completing the fetal RHD genotyping validation study is a major achievement for our CLIA-certified laboratory,” said Allan Bombard, MD, chief medical officer of Sequenom. “Our fetal RHD genotyping test, with the significant clinical improvement of first trimester detection, compared to current standard of care in the US, should become an important tool for the Ob/Gyn community. The ability to test for RhD incompatibility earlier in pregnancy than is currently possible, with potentially greater accuracy, is noteworthy.”

About Rhesus D Incompatibility

People have one of four blood types, A, B, AB or O. Each of these is further classified according to the presence or absence of Rh factor proteins on the surface of one’s red blood cells, which carry the Rhesus antigens. One of the main antigens is D. Those positive for the D protein are called RhD positive; absent the D protein one is RhD negative. About 85% of Caucasians are RhD positive, while 92-98% of African American and Hispanic populations and 98-99% of Asian and Native American populations are RhD positive. Between half and all the children born to an RhD negative mother and RhD positive father will be RhD positive.

RhD incompatibility in pregnancy occurs when the mother is negative for the Rhesus D factor and the baby is positive. During pregnancy the baby’s blood cells may enter the mother’s bloodstream causing the mother to produce antibodies that destroy and eliminate the baby’s red blood cells. This immune response may lead to RhD disease. RhD disease can result in jaundice, anemia, brain damage, heart failure or even fetal death. Without treatment, severe cases may result in stillborn deliveries.

More information on the SensiGene test and fetal RHD genotyping can be found at http://www.scmmlab.com/Home/Health-Care-Professionals/Fetal-RHD-Genotyping.

About MassARRAY Technology

Sequenom’s proprietary MassARRAY® system is a high performance matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry-based nucleic acid analysis platform that quantitatively measures genetic target material and its variations in a rapid, accurate, and cost efficient manner. Sequenom’s MassARRAY system facilitates a number of nucleic acid analysis applications including SNP genotyping and allelotyping, CNV analysis, quantitative gene expression analysis, quantitative methylation marker analysis, comparative sequence analysis of haploid organisms, SNP discovery, and oligonucleotide quality control.

About Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine

Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine® (Sequenom CMM), a CAP accredited and CLIA-certified molecular diagnostics laboratory, is developing a full range of advanced prenatal diagnostics. Branded under the name SensiGene(TM), these genetic tests provide earlier patient management alternatives for obstetricians, geneticists and maternal fetal medicine specialists. Sequenom CMM is changing the landscape in genetic disorder diagnostics using proprietary cutting edge technologies. Visit http://www.scmmlab.com for more information on laboratory services.

About Sequenom

Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: SQNM) is a life sciences company committed to improving healthcare through revolutionary genetic analysis solutions. Sequenom develops innovative technology, products and diagnostic tests that target and serve discovery & clinical research, and molecular diagnostics markets. The company was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in San Diego, California. Sequenom maintains a Web site at http://www.sequenom.com to which Sequenom regularly posts copies of its press releases as well as additional information about Sequenom. Interested persons can subscribe on the Sequenom Web site to email alerts or RSS feeds that are sent automatically when Sequenom issues press releases, files its reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission or posts certain other information to the Web site.

Sequenom®, Sequenom® Center for Molecular Medicine®, SEQureDx(TM), SensiGene(TM), and MassARRAY® are trademarks of Sequenom, Inc. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statements

Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this press release, including statements regarding the anticipated performance and benefits of the SensiGene Fetal RHD genotyping test and its acceptance and use as an important tool in the Ob/Gyn community, and development of a full range of advanced prenatal diagnostics by Sequenom CMM, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially, including the risks and uncertainties associated with market demand for and acceptance and use by customers of new laboratory developed tests such as the SensiGene Fetal RHD genotyping test, ongoing litigation and investigations involving the Company, the Company’s financial position, its ability to position itself for product launches and growth and develop and commercialize new technologies and products, particularly new technologies such as noninvasive prenatal diagnostics, laboratory developed tests, and genetic analysis platforms, reliance upon the collaborative efforts of other parties, the Company’s ability to manage its existing cash resources or raise additional cash resources, competition, intellectual property protection and intellectual property rights of others, government regulation particularly with respect to diagnostic products and laboratory developed tests, obtaining or maintaining regulatory approvals, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008 and other documents subsequently filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements are based on current information that may change and you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement, and the Company undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the issuance of this press release.

SOURCE Sequenom, Inc.


Source: newswire



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