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GEN News Highlights : Apr 21, 2011

KellBenx Secures $2.5M to Take Maternal Blood-Based Prenatal Diagnostic into Clinic

Firm’s approach uses AdnaGen’s antibodies to fetal nucleated red blood cells.

Recently established prenatal diagnostics firm KellBenx secured an initial funding round of $2.5 million from four investors. The firm says the funding will finance a clinical trial and laboratory testing of its lead maternal blood assay for prenatal diagnosis of genetic disorders. It hopes a test could be widely available by early 2012.

KellBenx' approach is based on the use of fetal nucleated red blood cells (FNRBCs) for monitoring and diagnosing maternal, fetal, and neonatal diseases. The firm was established in 2010, and earlier this month KellBenx negotiated a deal with German firm AdnaGen to exclusively license the latter’s monoclonal antibodies with specificity for fetal erythroid cells.

These antibodies will represent the second half of the KellBenx' technology. The overall process involves enrichment of FNRBCs with the AdnaGen antibodies for carrying out chromosomal or genetic analysis to identify markers of potential disorders.