Danish molecular diagnostics company FCMB has made a breakthrough in developing a non-invasive prenatal diagnostics method, reports financial daily newspaper Børsen. The company aims to develop a no risk method of providing pregnant women with accurate information about the genetic status of their unborn child.
Current invasive procedures, which are offered to 5-10% of pregnant women, are known to increase the risk of abortion, while FCMB's method will be a simple blood sample causing no such risk.
Professor Steen Kølvraa, one of the founders of FCMB, says: "We have managed to identify the fetal cells that exist in the mother's blood. Since the 1960s it has been known that fetal cells pass into the mother's blood, but the cell types have never been identified."
The CEO of FCMB Andreas Eckelt says in a press release: "We are now able to specifically select fetal cells from a pregnant woman's blood sample. Accessing fetal cells for subsequent genetic analysis without the need of invasive methods will lead to a paradigm shift in prenatal disease management. Our feasibility study, which will be initiated this year, will clearly demonstrate the advantage of FCMB's cell based technology over current methods."
The research breakthrough has the potential to generate significant profit for the investors. Inventure Capital, the main shareholder of FCMB, is preparing for an exit and is currently in dialogue with a number of players in diagnostics methods.
FCMB forecasts it will take about five years before its method is ready for a commercial launch.