January 25, 2006

New Test Gives Women a Status Report on Body Clock

LONDON -- Women will be able to get a status report on their body clock and chances of conceiving a baby after British firm Lifestyle Choices launched the world's first publicly available triple-hormone ovarian reserve test.

Lifestyle Choices, 50 percent owned by Biofusion Plc, said on Wednesday the 'Plan Ahead' product would be "the most accurate hormone-based ovarian test publicly available, enabling women to make more informed decisions about whether to try for a baby sooner rather than later."

Developed at the University of Sheffield, Life Ahead assesses the number of eggs in the woman's ovaries compared with levels expected for women of the same age by measuring three hormone levels in the blood.

Small blood samples taken during the woman's period measure two ovarian hormones, Inhibin B and AMH; and a third pituitary hormone, FSH.

The company said the test would be accurate for up to two years ahead, allowing women to decide whether or for how long they can put off trying to conceive.

Shares in Biofusion were up 7.6 percent at 156-1/2 pence, valuing the firm at about 29.5 million pounds ($52.6 million), after earlier reaching an all-time high of 160p.

Current publicly available fertility tests use urine samples to measure levels of FSH in the body, but these tests provide only a snapshot of ovarian status and give no indication whether a woman's fertility is declining.

Plan Ahead will initially be available by mail order, but Lifestyle Choices plans to make it available over-the-counter via pharmacies and private clinics later in the year.

Biofusion signed a 10-year agreement with the University of Sheffield last January to commercialise all the university-owned medical intellectual property through its portfolio of nine medical technology companies.