31 October 2016 – NHS to adopt NIPT for high risk women

Issued on behalf of Premaitha Health plc
Manchester, UK: Monday, 31 October 2016

Premaitha Health PLC
(“Premaitha” or “the Company”)

NHS to adopt NIPT for high risk women

Premaitha welcomes UK Govt. decision

Manchester, UK – 31 October 2016: Premaitha Health plc (AIM: NIPT), developer of the leading CE-marked complete non-invasive prenatal screening system, welcomes the decision by the UK’s Department of Health to make non-invasive prenatal tests (“NIPT”) routinely available on the NHS to high risk* pregnant women across the UK.

The Government’s decision follows a recommendation in January 2016 by the National Screening Committee that NIPT should be made freely available on the NHS, as part of the standard fetal anomaly screening programme, to women with a higher risk of their baby developing Down’s, Edwards’ or Patau’s syndrome.

Current testing for genetic disorders on the NHS is done through the Combined Test, which is significantly less accurate than NIPT. This results in many women who are incorrectly assessed as being “at risk” for fetal anomalies choosing to undergo an invasive diagnostic procedure, such as amniocentesis, which carries a risk of miscarriage. However, the availability of a safer and highly accurate non-invasive blood test on the NHS, such as Premaitha’s IONA® test, is likely to result in a dramatic reduction in the number of women subjected to such invasive procedures.

Premaitha expects NIPT to be rolled out across the NHS to high risk women over the next three years.

Dr Stephen Little, CEO of Premaitha, commented:

“I am delighted that the UK Government is committed to making the process of screening for fetal anomalies a safer one. Through more accurate screening with non-invasive prenatal tests, such as the IONA® test, we will significantly reduce the number of women being referred for follow-up invasive diagnostic procedures.

As the developer of the UK’s leading non-invasive prenatal test, Premaitha looks forward to continuing its work with the NHS to make the IONA® test – which is already offered in over 50 NHS institutions –  more widely available. We hope that the NHS will seek to adopt only NIPT solutions of the highest certificated quality and that, in time, NIPT will be available to all women on the NHS and not just those perceived to be at the highest risk.”

*High-risk refers to pregnant women with a 1:150 chance of having a pregnancy affected by Down’s syndrome.

For more information, please contact:

Premaitha Health plc    
Dr Stephen Little, Chief Executive Office
Barry Hextall, Chief Financial Officer    
Joanne Cross, Head of Marketing    
Tel: +44 (0) 161 667 6865
Vigo Communications    
Ben Simons / Fiona Henson / Antonia Pollock    
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7830 9700

About Premaitha

Premaitha is a molecular diagnostics company which uses the latest advances in DNA analysis technology to develop safer, faster and regulatory approved non-invasive screening tests for pregnant women.

Premaitha’s lead test – the IONA® test – was launched in February 2015 and is the leading CE marked complete system which estimates the risk of a fetus being affected with Down’s syndrome or other genetic conditions. The IONA® test is performed on the mother’s blood sample – which contains traces of fetal DNA – and then analysed using next generation DNA sequencing technology from ThermoFisher Scientific.

Unlike existing prenatal screening methods, due to its high level of accuracy, the IONA® test can significantly reduce the number of women subjected to unnecessary stressful and invasive follow-up diagnostic procedures which are costly, resource intensive and carry a risk of miscarriage.

Non-invasive prenatal screening is an emerging, multi-billion dollar global market and Premaitha’s complete CE marked system enables laboratories and health care practitioners to offer an approved, non-invasive prenatal screening system in-house.  

Premaitha is based in Manchester Science Park, United Kingdom and its shares trade on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange (AIM: NIPT). For further information please visit www.premaitha.com. Follow us on twitter @PremaithaHealth.