NEW YORK, April 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- KellBenx, a biotechnology company focused on the development of non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD) of genetic and inherited disorders, announced today that it has signed an exclusive options agreement with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to research a new blood test that could predict the risk of premature births early in pregnancy – or even before women become pregnant. Preterm delivery (PTD) is the leading cause of infant mortality in the world, causing up to 85 percent of all newborn deaths. KellBenx' worldwide license for Cedars-Sinai's diagnostic biomarker technology is the first step towards developing a marketable, minimally invasive test that can predict PTD and allow patients and doctors to make informed decisions about pregnancy in advance.
PTD occurs in about one-eighth of all pregnancies in the United States – more than a half million cases a year – but the primary current diagnostic testing for PTD risk is used only in the third trimester, to predict whether the patient will go into labor within the next two weeks.
"There is currently no test to predict the risk of PTD in future pregnancies of women who are not yet pregnant, and there is a tremendous need for such a test to identify women at high risk," said Hassan Bennani, MD., CEO of KellBenx. "With this agreement, KellBenx can begin the research process to turn this biomarker technology into a simple blood test that will help physicians focus on preventative strategies in these women and improve pregnancy outcomes. This is early-stage technology, but it has exciting possibilities for potentially reducing infant mortality."
The technology consists of a triple assay of biomarkers that can measure a blood sample obtained from the prospective mother either before pregnancy or in the early stages to identify the potential for PTD. The test could be repeated multiple times during pregnancy to track potential changes in risk as the pregnancy progresses.
Founded in 2010, KellBenx, Inc. is a privately-held biotechnology company based in New York City. KellBenx is developing high value, innovative tests that leverage the ability to extract clinically relevant information from blood. Our focus is to improve women's healthcare and one of our first tests is in the area of non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD) for genetic disorders. For more information, please call 631.643.2614 or visit www.kellbenx.com.