Sequenom Shares Popped: What You Need to Know

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What: Shares of Sequenom (NAS: SQNM) have popped by as much as 14% today on news that the company has launched its new Down syndrome prenatal test.

So what: The test will be available in 20 different U.S. cities today, two years after a previous attempt to bring it to market experienced a set back due to employees mishandling sensitive research data. A clinical validation study showed that the blood test is able to detect 99.1% of all positive cases of Trisomy 21, the genetic defect that commonly causes Down syndrome.

Now what: Sequenom utilizes a blood test from a pregnant woman, compared to the current method of amniocentesis, inserting a needle into the uterus to sample amniotic fluid. Amniocentesis carries the risk of miscarriage and the new test can reduce procedure-related losses by up to 96% while also boasting high accuracy. Sequenom is targeting 750,000 tests in the U.S. annually.

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