Sera Prognostics, Inc., a women’s healthcare company, today announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has agreed to join the Company’s Series B financing, which will bring the total transaction to $25 million. The additional funding will help Sera expand the reach of its proteomic technology to develop new tests designed to predict the risk of preterm birth for women in developing countries around the world.
“We are pleased to have the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation agree to join us as an investor. This collaboration has the potential to help address the enormous global challenge in preterm birth by identifying risks early in pregnancy with the goal of improving the health of mothers and infants worldwide,” said Gregory C. Critchfield, M.D., M.S., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sera Prognostics. “We believe that our technologies will help clinicians around the globe to make a real difference for their patients.”
“Preterm birth affects more than 15 million infants worldwide every year, with particularly severe consequences in developing countries,” said Trevor Mundel, president of Global Health at the Bill & Melinda GatesFoundation. “There is a great need for tests that identify the risk of preterm birth and other complications of pregnancy, so that effective early interventions can be used to improve the health of mothers and children everywhere. We look forward to working with Sera Prognostics in this innovative area of science.”
According to the March of Dimes’ Global Action Report on Preterm Birth from 2012, each year more than 15 million infants are born prematurely worldwide and one million die from preterm birth complications. In addition,manyexperiencelifetimevisual,hearingandlearningdisabilities. Theseratesarerisingandtoday preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn death and the second leading cause of death in children under age five.
Sera has completed enrollment of 5,500 patients from eleven U.S. clinical sites in its landmark Proteomic Assessment of Preterm Risk (PAPR) clinical study and expects results to be available during the second quarter of 2015. PAPR is the largest singleton pregnancy proteomic study enrolled in the U.S. to date for the purpose of developing a broadly generalizable preterm birth predictor. Sera and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will use the experience from the PAPR study and the development of Sera’s PreTRM(™) test to advance the development of a new tool that can be effectively and economically deployed in underserved developing countries to identify women’s risk of preterm birth.