Waters Corp. will help develop a blood-based biomarker test to predict the risk of premature birth

Waters Corp. ($WAT) inked a research partnership deal with an Irish research facility targeted toward developing a blood-based biomarker test that can predict whether a fetus is at high risk for premature birth.

Neither side is discussing financial details. But the agreement represents an intriguing partnership between Waters, a Milford, MA-based provider of analytical technologies and services in areas including mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography, and the Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT) at University College in Cork. Waters' technology is used, in part, for biomarker discovery work.

For one thing, this deal takes advantage of proximity. Waters employs 5,700 people, according to its website, and maintains 11 manufacturing facilities around the world. That includes 264 employees at a Wexford manufacturing plant, the partnership announcement noted, and the effort will help expand Waters' Irish presence beyond that status. As part of the deal, Waters will invest an undisclosed amount of money into the Science Foundation Ireland-funded INFANT. Waters' research and diagnostic technology will also likely come into play.

Specifically, they'll focus on developing a blood-based biomarker test that can determine within the first 15 weeks of pregnancy whether a mother-to-be is likely to develop spontaneous preterm birth, which is a major cause of neonatal deaths, the deal announcement noted. Such a test would address a global unmet clinical need, according to the announcement.

Mike Harrington, Waters' vice president of European & Asia Pacific Operations, said in a statement that "diseases are complex as demonstrated by the vast number of biomarkers that researchers are identifying using Waters' chromatography and mass spectrometry technologies. This partnership with INFANT is a strong opportunity to advance our collective diagnostic capabilities in the hopes of improving patient care."

- read the release

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