Biotech firm patents breakthrough method to avoid amniocentesis risk  

2007.04.16
Danish biotech company FCMB is the world's first to patent a method which can replace the unpleasant and risky procedure of amniocentesis during pregnancy
The south Jutland based biotech company FCMB is the world's first company to patent a method which can replace the unpleasant and risky procedure of amniocentesis, the most common prenatal test during pregnancy used to screen for genetic birth defects. The breakthrough is thought to be so significant that it now will be used to leverage an accelerated sell-on of the fledgling company.
 
FCMB, which originates from the University of Aarhus, has patented a method to identify foetal cells simply from a blood sample. While avoiding the well-known risks of amniocentesis, the invention is equally able to identify serious chromosomal abnormalities such as Downs Syndrome and brain damage in a foetus.
 
Torben Vilsgaard, director of venture company Incuba, which has a 80% stake in FCMB, says: "It is without doubt one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs I have seen during the many years I have been in the venture industry. We will pull out all the stops to mature the company for a sale in maximum two years. Without mentioning any sum, I make no secret of the fact that we see FCMB as a golden egg."
 
Erik Højsholt, newly appointed chairman of FCMB says: "In Europe alone 10 million women annually choose to have a conventional amniocentesis. So there is a great potential in replacing this procedure with a new test which does not have the same risks." Højsholt adds that the new blood sample test is also significantly cheaper than the amniocentesis. The news was reported by financial daily newspaper Børsen.
 

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