Ariosa moving forward with prenatal Dx despite suit

Ariosa Diagnostics has completed another study of its Harmony prenatal test, looking to expand the adoption of the kit despite a lawsuit from rival Sequenom.

Harmony tests for a common fetal trisomies, like Trisomy 21, which is linked to Down syndrome, and Ariosa tested the diagnostic on a population of pregnant women at low risk for chromosomal abnormalities, the company said. The goal is to get the kit in the hands of more physicians, and Ariosa's vice president of medical affairs said in a statement that after 5 studies, Harmony has demonstrated itself to be accurate.

All this comes as Ariosa squabbles with diagnostics firm Sequenom, which is suing the company on claims that Harmony violates a patent. Sequenom markets Materniti21, which tests for Trisomy 21, and it says Ariosa's kit is too similar to its own. Sequenom filed a preliminary injunction in February to stop Ariosa from profiting off Harmony while the patent lawsuit was pending, but a federal judge tossed that motion earlier this month.

Sequenom got on the market first, launching Materniti21 in October, while Ariosa commercialized Harmony in May. However, Ariosa seems poised to snag a bigger market share, as its test sells for $795 and Sequenom's costs $1,900. Furthermore, Ariosa signed a deal with LabCorp to get Harmony available in that company's more than 1,000 facilities nationwide.

- read Ariosa's release

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