Sera lands $19.3M, appoints Critchfield as CEO

Sera Prognostics has closed a $19.3 million Series A financing round led by venture capital firms InterWest Partners, Domain Associates and Catalyst Health Ventures. The other participants were UpStart Life Sciences Capital and Osage University Partners.

Founded in 2008, Sera develops diagnostic tests to detect pregnancy complications and preeclampsia. Sera will use the proceeds to complete its multicenter Proteomic Assessment of Preterm Risk trial of its preterm birth diagnostic and eventually commercially launch the test.

"More than 80 percent of women who have a preterm birth are not identified using current technologies," said Kim Kamdar, partner, Domain Associates. "There is a significant unmet need in women's health care today to reliably and quantitatively assess a woman's individual risk of preterm birth before threatening symptoms arise. Domain saw a tremendous opportunity for Sera to address this need by developing a simple, non-invasive, highly sensitive early risk predictor for preterm birth. We believe that this test has the potential to reduce the number of preterm births as well as the resulting high costs involved in neonatal care."

Of the 4.1 million annual births in the U.S., roughly one in 8 babies is born premature. And according to a March of Dimes study, the annual public health care cost of caring for preterm infants in the U.S. is more than $26 billion, Sera notes in a statement.

The company also announced the appointment of Gregory Critchfield, the former president of Myriad Genetic Laboratories and current Sera chair, as its CEO. Critchfield was named executive chairman in April and will take over for Mark Ostrowski as CEO. Ostrowski, who was tapped as CEO just in April, is now Sera's COO, "where he is using his commercial expertise to oversee operations and get the PTB test to market quickly," a company spokesman said, according to GenomeWeb Daily News.

- see the Sera release
- check out the GenomeWeb report