Natera, a genetic testing company, has completed a $54.6 million financing round to support the expansion and continued global rollout of Natera's non-invasive prenatal test, Panorama. The financing round included two new lead investors, OrbiMed Advisors and Harmony Partners, as well as other undisclosed new investors. All existing investors participated, including Claremont Creek Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Founders Fund and Sequoia Capital.
"We have successfully launched Panorama, and with our partners are seeing strong demand from expecting mothers who want reliable, early information about their fetus," said Matthew Rabinowitz, Ph.D., CEO of Natera. "This new financing will support the expansion of our lab and our team to meet the rapidly increasing demand. In addition, we will continue to investigate new applications for the NATUS technology's ability to derive large amounts of information with high accuracy from small amounts of fetal DNA. We are fortunate to have a world class investor syndicate that shares our excitement for the technology's potential and look forward to helping expecting families worldwide with Panorama while evaluating these potential expansion opportunities."
In clinical validation studies, Panorama demonstrated a sensitivity of greater than 99% when detecting common chromosomal abnormalities such as trisomy 21, trisomy 18 and trisomy 13; and 92% when detecting monosomy X. In addition, Panorama demonstrated a specificity of 100% with no false positives for all the syndromes tested. The test uses fetal cell-free DNA found in maternal blood and works as early as nine weeks gestation.
"Panorama offers broader coverage, superior accuracy and earlier results than first-generation tests, and we expect it to become a leading product in the NIPT space,” said Mark Lotke, co-founder of Harmony Partners. “The combination of Panorama's clear advantages, Natera's strong leadership team and the company's aggressive launch strategy were key reasons for our involvement in this expansion-stage financing."
Panorama's technology analyzes, in a single reaction, 19,500 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which are the most informative portions of an individual's DNA. It utilizes the NATUS (Next-generation Aneuploidy Testing Using SNPs) algorithm, an advanced version of Natera's proprietary informatics. Panorama has been validated globally and is currently being evaluated in several other clinical trials for the detection of genetic disorders, including trisomy 21, trisomy 18, trisomy 13, monosomy X, XXY, XYY, XXX and triploidy. The test uses a simple blood draw from the mother and can be performed within the first trimester of pregnancy, as early as nine weeks, without any risk to the fetus.
"Natera is a prime example of our belief that personalized genetic informatics will transform medicine in the 21st century," said Ted Driscoll, Ph.D., partner and digital healthcare lead at Claremont Creek Ventures. "We have supported the Natera team from the very beginning as they have developed and deployed the best and most accurate tests in the in-vitro fertilization and pregnancy markets, where genetic data is having a major impact."