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GM AHSN secures 2nd big win in supporting a local company win NHS Contract

Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network has secured a second big win in supporting a Manchester-based company with a three-year contract with the NHS.

Premaitha Health (“Premaitha”, AIM: NIPT) has won a competitive tender process to supply its non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT), the IONA® test, to St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

GM AHSN provided advice and support to Premaitha about how to navigate NHS procurement systems, which can often be challenging for SMEs, and on the best way to proceed with the agreement.

Keith Chantler, Executive Director of Industry and Wealth at GM AHSN, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to support Premaitha in securing its deal with St George’s. GM AHSN is focused on supporting SMEs to do business with the NHS and has established the Innovation Nexus as a bespoke support system for companies to access. We have a team of expert advisors who work with companies on a wide range of issues from market assessments and clinical trials, to how to access funding and NHS procurement.”

Premaitha’s IONA® test is the first CE-marked in vitro diagnostic (IVD) product for NIPT.  It uses next-generation sequencing technology to estimate the risk of a fetus being affected by serious genetic disorders such as Down’s syndrome (Trisomy 21), Edwards’ syndrome (Trisomy 18) and Patau’s syndrome (Trisomy 13) by analysing cell-free fetal DNA from a sample of maternal blood.

The IONA® test is more accurate than the current combined test with a much lower ‘false positive’ rate which dramatically reduces the number of unnecessary invasive follow-up tests such as amniocentesis and chronic villus sampling which are stressful and have a small risk of miscarriage.

Until now, pregnant women in the UK could only access NIPT privately, with blood samples being sent to the US or China. Not only was this costly, but it carried a waiting time of up to two weeks; a long and anxious time for expectant mothers and their families.

Dr Stephen Little, CEO Premaitha Health said: “The award by St George’s was a huge milestone for Premaitha and a strong endorsement of the robustness, reliability and accuracy of the IONA® test. The advice provided by GM AHSN was invaluable in navigating the tender process and ensured that we were able to communicate both the full benefit of the test, and of Premaitha as a valuable partner. It is great to be able to collaborate with the St George’s team to make the many benefits of NIPT a reality for pregnant women and clinicians within the UK.”