SAN CARLOS, Calif., April 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Artemis Health, Inc., a privately-held company dedicated to maternal and fetal health, today announced that it has changed its name to Verinata Health, Inc. to better reflect its core mission of providing accurate ("veri") assessments of natal ("nata") health. Currently, Verinata Health, Inc. (Verinata) is focused on completing the clinical validation of its first non-invasive prenatal diagnostic (NIPD) test. This test is designed to determine fetal chromosomal abnormalities, such as the one associated with Down syndrome. In addition, the company is pleased to announce the appointment of Caren L. Mason as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the company's Board of Directors.
Verinata is dedicated to the development of non-invasive molecular diagnostic tests for maternal and fetal health. The company's initial validation study has just been published in the online edition of Clinical Chemistry and is available at http://www.clinchem.org/cgi/content/abstract/clinchem.2011.165910. A press release highlighting this milestone event for the company was also issued today. The company's first product is intended to be a non-invasive prenatal diagnostic test. From a single blood draw as early as the first trimester of pregnancy, Verinata's first prenatal test is being developed to identify fetal chromosomal abnormalities, including trisomy 21 (associated with Down syndrome). Verinata is currently conducting a large, prospective, blinded clinical validation study to confirm the specificity and sensitivity of its first test. The company expects the study to be completed in 2011 and is targeting the launch of the test as a laboratory developed test (LDT) in the first quarter of 2012.
"I am excited about the opportunities ahead for Verinata, as we work toward the launch of our first product in early 2012, and explore additional opportunities for our proprietary technologies," said Caren L. Mason, Chief Executive Officer of Verinata. "I personally experienced the very trying and anxiety-filled multi-step process of fetal health screening and diagnosis, which included amniocentesis. I later learned that my initial blood test was considered 'false positive' and that thousands of women each year have a similar outcome. I agreed to join Verinata for the extraordinary opportunity to lead this company in its efforts to develop this NIPD test appropriately and position it properly for physicians and their patients."
Caren Mason brings more than 30 years of commercial and diagnostic healthcare experience to Verinata. Previously, she served as President and Chief Executive Officer for Quidel Corporation (Quidel), a point-of-care, rapid immunoassay diagnostics test company from which she retired in 2009, after having led the company through a stellar period of growth and profitability. She was recognized by Ernst and Young for her work at Quidel as a 2007 Finalist for San Diego Life Sciences Entrepreneur of the Year and earned Quidel the distinction of being named one of the 200 Best Small Companies by Forbes in 2007 and 2008. Previously, she served as CEO of MiraMedica, a company engaged in computer-aided detection software designed to assist radiologists in breast screening and as CEO of eMED Technologies, a company focused on digital technology for transferring information and images between hospitals and doctors. She has also served as a General Manager of the women's healthcare and services businesses of GE Healthcare and as a Senior Vice President for Bayer AG/AGFA. Ms. Mason began her career at American Hospital Supply Corporation/Baxter Healthcare Corporation. She is a graduate of Indiana University and has served on the boards of Quidel, MiraMedica, eMed Technologies, and AdvaMed as well as on the boards of the Partners for Philanthropic Change, Alliance for Global Good and the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor Hospitals and Foundation. She currently serves on the UCSD Moores Cancer Center's Board of Directors.
"Caren's extensive commercial and operational experience specifically in women's health complements the research and product development prowess of the established management team already in place," said Bill Ericson, managing partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures and a member of Verinata's Board of Directors. "As Verinata enters the next phase of its growth, we believe we have the commercial leadership, technology expertise, and operational experience in place to nimbly and effectively maximize the opportunities for future success."
Verinata Health, Inc.
Verinata is driven by a sole, extraordinary purpose – maternal and fetal health. Our initial focus is to develop and offer non-invasive tests for early identification of fetal chromosomal abnormalities using our proprietary technologies. We aim to reduce the anxiety associated with today's multi-step process, the unacceptable false-positive rates, the non-specific and sometimes confusing results of current prenatal screening methods, as well as the risk of current invasive procedures. In support of national guidelines recommending first trimester aneuploidy risk assessment, we believe women who desire such an assessment should be offered a single blood draw test with a definitive result. Verinata is conducting a prospective, blinded pivotal study to clinically validate the sensitivity and specificity of its first prenatal test on a large scale with results of the study expected in 2011. For more information about Verinata, please go to www.verinata.com.
SOURCE Verinata Health, Inc.