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Test results are good for business

Posted in Business, Screening by Matt at WelcometoIllinois on June 30, 2008

The Motley Fool reports on a secondary stock market offering by diagnostic-test maker Sequenom. The company just sold 5.5 million shares to “add nearly $100 million to Sequenom’s balance sheet” according to the report.

Apparently the company has seen the price of its stock double in less than a month after tests of its non-invasive prenatal Down syndrome test indicated that it is both accurate and able to avoid false positives. An earlier Fool report stated:

“Sequenom announced that its prenatal Down syndrome test was able to use maternal blood to correctly identify the 10 Down syndrome samples from the 201 tested samples without any false positives (that is, saying there is one when there isn’t). Current tests available can only identify 70% to 90% of samples with a false positive rate of up to 5%.”

The Motley Fool cites an “estimated $1 billion Down syndrome testing market”. Not only that but as the report points out, the less risk there is to the mother, the more likely they will be to take the test – so the value of that market is likely to get even bigger.

Of course it’s good news  that test results are getting more accurate and that there is less risk of miscarriage. Little wonder that nuchal translucency tests are going to be offered to every pregnant woman in Scotland, for example.

I may have been somewhat naive about the business of testing but it’s an aspect I hadn’t really considered before and I can’t help feeling somewhat uneasy about how much money is also being made on the back of it.

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4 Responses

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  1. […] the previously reported test being developed by Sequenom, the Stanford test is said to be 100% accurate in identifying […]

  2. […] News about the new non-invasive screening test from Sequenom. Nothing very unusual about the topic, Sequenom has been getting a lot of press based on its promise to provide earlier, more accurate […]

  3. […] have previously written about two new non-invasive diagnostic tests for Down’s syndrome. One created by a company called Sequenom after research at the Chinese University in Hong Kong, and the other […]

  4. […] The Street notes, that last figure indicates that the company is no longer able to repeat its previous claim to no false positives. “Until today, Sequenom’s test had a 100% detection rate for Down […]


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