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San Diego Companies Partner On Prenatal Testing

Through a new partnership, the San Diego company behind a prenatal Down syndrome test hopes to offer expectant mothers more information about their pregnancies.

Through a new partnership, the San Diego company behind a leading prenatal test for Down syndrome hopes to offer expectant mothers more information about their pregnancies.

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Is it time for a test?

Sequenom's increasingly popular MaterniT21 Plus test uses a sample of the mother's blood to analyze fetal genes. The test currently screens for Down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders.

On Thursday, Sequenom announced a partnership with another San Diego-based company, Cypher Genomics, to check for more disorders on the sub-chromosomal level.

"We're able to return additional information about smaller genomic abnormalities," said Ashley Van Zeeland, CEO and co-founder of Cypher Genomics. "A lot of those alterations are associated with significant and sometimes fatal disease."

Van Zeeland recently took Sequenom's test during her own pregnancy and said it helped her avoid more invasive procedures like amniocentesis.

"The ability to offer broader content as part of that test is really attractive, from someone who was just an expectant mother," said Van Zeeland.

Sequenom has not yet announced which specific conditions they'll screen for in updated tests.

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