Natera launches prenatal diagnostic with big Quest co-sign

Natera is shipping out its Panorama noninvasive prenatal diagnostic test come March 1, and the company has locked down the support of Quest Diagnostics ($DGX), with the testing giant agreeing to distribute the assay.

Panorama is an all-in-one test that can detect the chromosomal abnormalities that spell Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, Patau syndrome and Turner syndrome using cell-free DNA found in maternal blood, the company says. The test can be performed in the first trimester of pregnancy--as early as 9 weeks--and works off a blood draw.

In clinical studies, Panorama demonstrated a specificity of 100% with no false positives, making its cell-free platform a major advance in prenatal screening, Quest says.

"By offering physicians and women access to Panorama, Quest Diagnostics is delivering on its commitment to provide clinically important innovations aligned with guideline-based care," Quest's Charles Strom said in a statement.

Signing on with Quest, a giant in diagnostics testing, will help expand Panorama's market share and get the test in the hands of women around the country, Natera CEO Matthew Rabinowitz said. "Our team's efforts have created a very reliable, yet safe noninvasive prenatal test that screens for common fetal chromosomal diseases and will be the first to screen for sex chromosome abnormalities in every sample," Rabinowitz said in a statement.

And Panorama's current applications could be just the beginning, Rabinowitz said. Natera is evaluating the platform to test for other genetic disorders and sex chromosome abnormalities.

- read Natera's announcement
- check out Quest's release