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Horizon Discovery, St. George's University Hospital, EMQN to Develop NIPT Reference Material

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Horizon Discovery Group announced today that it is collaborating with St. George's University Hospital in London and the European Molecular Genetics Quality Network (EMQN) to develop reference material for non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT).

Well-characterized reference material consisting of matched maternal and fetal DNA with a variety of chromosomal aneuploidies is required to monitor NIPT test performance but is not currently available, Horizon said. As part of the partnership, the company will provide its expertise in the development of genetically defined, cell line-derived reference material, while clinical samples will be provided by St. George's University Hospital and St. Thomas' Hospital in London. The EMQN, which is based in the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine at Saint Mary's Hospital, will run a comprehensive validation study using its network of laboratories performing NIPT around the world.

The project is supported by funding from Innovate UK. Additional financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Horizon has pioneered the development of well-characterized, genetically defined reference standard material to support molecular diagnostics. We are delighted to be involved in this project," Lisa Wright, Horizon's diagnostics business unit leader, said in a statement.

"There is increasingly widespread adoption of NIPT, both in the UK and internationally," added St George's Professor Asma Khalil. "Incorrect results can have detrimental effects on patient management, hence we as clinicians want to be confident that test results are accurate."