Reshuffle at the top of Premaitha Health

MANCHESTER-based Premaitha Health, the developer of a ground-breaking non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) for Down’s Syndrome in unborn children, has announced a raft of management changes as the commercialisation of its IONA test begins to gather pace.

Chief medical officer Dr William Denman is to join the board of the AIM-listed company after being with the company for more than four year years.

Meanwhile, the remit of Peter Collins will be broadened to take on the role of chief business officer.

Collins’ commercial team has also been enlarged with the recent appointment of Nicholas Claxton who becomes chief commercial officer for Premaitha Ltd, its UK subsidiary.

The changes were due to be announced at Premaitha’s annual meeting which was taking place at the University of Manchester today.

Chairman David Evans said: “We look forward to the coming year, in which we will continue to prioritise the commercialisation of our test and product development. We intend to further develop our business through closer collaboration with key opinion leaders, our platform and distribution partners.”

The management reshuffle coincides with news that Premaitha and the Wolfson Institute – part of St Bart’s and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry and Britain’s leading research and service facility for antenatal screening for Down’s – are collaborating in a world first for NIPT, using the IONA test.

As one of the country’s largest antenatal screening laboratories, the Wolfson Institute performs approximately 50,000 tests a year.
Reflex DNA screening involves taking two maternal blood samples during the same appointment.
The first blood sample is tested using the current ‘Combined’ test. If the result indicates a likelihood of having a pregnancy affected with Down’s Syndrome, Patau’s Syndrome or Edwards’ Syndrome equal to or greater than 1 in 800, the second blood sample will be analysed automatically using the IONA test.

This approach avoids the need to recall women for a second blood test and so reduces unnecessary anxiety. About 10% of women screened will have a reflex DNA test in this way.