Molecular structure

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Manchester move helps bio-tech firm to expand

Biotechnology company Premaitha Health is to double its Manchester workforce after relocating from Cambridge.

The company’s expertise is in assay design, development, validation and interpretation software, delivering highly accurate and reliable prenatal tests to pregnant women.

Led by chief executive Dr Stephen Little, it is currently developing an application to carry out prenatal testing for Down’s Syndrome.

Dr Little, a former AstraZeneca scientist, joined Premaitha as chief executive in January and said his immediate task was to relocate to the city to tap into its huge skills set in the science and research sector.

He said: “Manchester has the best knowledge base for science, research and development in the field of molecular diagnostics.

“So as we took the company from research phase to the development stage, we needed to be in a city which has a growing reputation in the science sector and the skills set to match.

“The universities here have a lot of talented people, but the city also has people with experience, which is what we need.”

Premaitha currently employs 12 staff in Manchester, but hopes to more than double this to 25, as it looks to commercialise the application - called the IONA Test.

The firm, which is moving to Manchester Science Park in the next few weeks, will be recruiting technical staff including molecular diagnostic scientists as well as sales and administration staff.

It has also been working with MIDAS as it looks to expand its operations.

Premaitha is aiming to bring its product to market towards the end of next year.

It said the IONA was an advanced testing system compared to the current prenatal screening tests, which can suffer from a lack of accuracy.

This can lead to many women with healthy pregnancies being incorrectly identified as “at risk” and subject to invasive follow up tests, which could carry a risk to the developing baby.

The Premaitha test uses next generation molecular technology to carry out more specific assessment which is safe for the foetus, said Dr Little.

He added: “This is very exciting time for the company, which is using leading cutting edge technology in the field of diagnostics to bring the product to market.

“We’re really looking forward to moving up to the next level.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Simon Malia .

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