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Natera Raises $54.6M for Prenatal Genetic Tests


5/1/2013 7:48:06 AM

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SAN CARLOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Natera today announced that it has completed a $54.6 million financing round to support the expansion and continued global rollout of Natera’s non-invasive prenatal test, Panorama™. The financing round included two new lead investors, OrbiMed Advisors and Harmony Partners, as well as other undisclosed new investors. All existing investors participated, including Claremont Creek Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Founders Fund and Sequoia Capital.

“We have successfully launched Panorama, and with our partners are seeing strong demand from expecting mothers who want reliable, early information about their fetus,” said Matthew Rabinowitz, Ph.D., CEO of Natera. “This new financing will support the expansion of our lab and our team to meet the rapidly increasing demand. In addition, we will continue to investigate new applications for the NATUS technology’s ability to derive large amounts of information with high accuracy from small amounts of fetal DNA. We are fortunate to have a world class investor syndicate that shares our excitement for the technology’s potential and look forward to helping expecting families worldwide with Panorama while evaluating these potential expansion opportunities.”

In clinical validation studies, Panorama demonstrated a sensitivity of greater than 99% when detecting common chromosomal abnormalities such as trisomy 21, trisomy 18 and trisomy 13; and 92% when detecting monosomy X. In addition, Panorama demonstrated a specificity of 100% with no false positives for all the syndromes tested. The test uses fetal cell-free DNA found in maternal blood and works as early as nine weeks gestation. Panorama’s clinical validation data was presented live at the annual Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine Meeting on Feb. 15, 2013.

“We are very pleased to partner with Natera to help the company continue to advance the field of non-invasive prenatal testing,” said Tadd Wessel, a managing director at OrbiMed. Added Matthew Rizzo, also a managing director at OrbiMed, “Natera has made substantial progress with the commercialization of Panorama and we look forward to working with Matt and his team to help the company achieve its full potential.”

Mark Lotke, cofounder of Harmony Partners, added, “Panorama offers broader coverage, superior accuracy and earlier results than first-generation tests, and we expect it to become a leading product in the NIPT space. The combination of Panorama’s clear advantages, Natera’s strong leadership team and the company’s aggressive launch strategy were key reasons for our involvement in this expansion-stage financing.”

Panorama’s technology analyzes, in a single reaction, 19,500 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which are the most informative portions of an individual’s DNA. It utilizes the NATUS [Next-generation Aneuploidy Testing Using SNPs] algorithm, an advanced version of Natera’s proprietary informatics. Panorama has been validated globally and is currently being evaluated in several other clinical trials for the detection of genetic disorders, including trisomy 21, trisomy 18, trisomy 13, monosomy X, XXY, XYY, XXX and triploidy. The test uses a simple blood draw from the mother and can be performed within the first trimester of pregnancy, as early as nine weeks, without any risk to the fetus.

"Natera is a prime example of our belief that personalized genetic informatics will transform medicine in the twenty-first century," said Ted Driscoll, Ph.D., partner and digital healthcare lead at Claremont Creek Ventures. "We have supported the Natera team from the very beginning as they have developed and deployed the best and most accurate tests in the in-vitro fertilization and pregnancy markets, where genetic data is having a major impact."

Added Roelof Botha, board member and partner at Sequoia Capital, "Natera's breakthrough technology delivers more accurate and timely prenatal information, and we're thrilled at the opportunity to help more families conceive and deliver children."

Ravi Mhatre, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, added, “Lightspeed is extremely enthusiastic about the advances being made by Natera, especially with the company being in a position to revolutionize the world of prenatal testing. The unique ability to combine big-data computation and algorithms with world-class genomic science represents the future of genetic testing technology, and Panorama brings an unprecedented level of accuracy and assurance in clinical test results for an expectant mother and her unborn child.”

About OrbiMed

OrbiMed is a leading investment firm dedicated exclusively to the healthcare sector, with approximately $7 billion in assets under management. OrbiMed invests globally across the spectrum of healthcare companies, from venture capital start-ups to large multinational companies. OrbiMed’s team of over 60 professionals manages a series of private equity funds, public equity funds, royalty and debt funds, and other investment vehicles. www.orbimed.com.

About Harmony Ventures

Harmony Partners is a highly differentiated venture capital firm purpose-built to better serve today’s capital efficient companies. With offices in Silicon Valley and New York City, Harmony fills a gap in the market for expansion stage capital. Through its flexible investment amounts, streamlined business processes, and accommodating approach, Harmony enables entrepreneurs to own more of their companies, focus on the core business, and enhance exit flexibility. Since 1993, the founding partners have invested in over 60 technology-driven companies, including ComScore, Coremetrics, E*Trade, Greenbox, Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Predictive Systems, Priceline.com, Peribit Network, Scopus Technology, SS&C, Swype, Synapse, Xactly, and YesMail. For more information on Harmony Partners, visit www.harmonyvp.com.

About Claremont Creek Ventures

Claremont Creek Ventures is a seed and early stage venture firm. We focus on information technology (IT) driven opportunities where we have deep domain expertise, including – but not limited to – digital healthcare, energy technology, payments/commerce, and online businesses. We’ve aligned our investment approach with what we have found is the most effective way to build successful companies today – staying lean, using capital efficiently, and developing great teams. Utilizing a proprietary life-cycle venturing program, we partner with entrepreneurs and institutions, including UC Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore Labs, Stanford University and UC Davis. Claremont Creek has more than $300 million in capital under management in two funds. CCV’s digital healthcare investments in addition to Natera include AssureRX, Cellscope, Fluxion Biosciences, Geneweave Biosciences and Tibion. For more information, visit www.claremontcreek.com.

About Sequoia Capital

Sequoia Capital provides venture capital funding to founders of startups who want to turn business ideas into enduring companies. As the "Entrepreneurs Behind the Entrepreneurs", Sequoia Capital's Partners have worked with innovators such as Steve Jobs of Apple Computer, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Bob Swanson of Linear Technology, Sandy Lerner and Len Bozack of Cisco Systems, Dan Warmenhoven of NetApp, Jerry Yang and David Filo of Yahoo!, Jen-Hsun Huang of NVIDIA, Michael Marks of Flextronics, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen of YouTube, Dominic Orr and Keerti Melkote of Aruba Networks, Jonathan Kaplan of Pure Digital, Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Omar Hamoui of Admob and Steve Streit of Green Dot. To learn more about Sequoia Capital visit www.sequoiacap.com/us/healthcare.

About Lightspeed Venture Partners

Lightspeed Venture Partners is a leading global venture capital firm with over $2 billion of committed capital under management. Lightspeed's investment professionals and advisors are located in Silicon Valley, China, India, and Israel. Over the past two decades, the Lightspeed team has backed more than 150 companies, many of which have become leaders in their respective markets, including Blue Nile, Brocade, Calista, Ciena, DoubleClick, eHealth, Fusion-io, Galileo Technology, Growth Networks, Informatica, Kiva Software, LivingSocial, Lucky Pai, Maker Communications, Phone.com, Playdom, Pliant Technology, Provigent, Riverbed, TutorVista, Virsa Systems, and Waveset. For more information, visit the Lightspeed website: www.lightspeedvp.com

About Natera

Natera is a genetic testing company that has developed a proprietary bioinformatics-based technology (NATUS) to deliver accurate and comprehensive high-throughput testing for reproductive indications from tiny quantities of DNA. Natera operates a CLIA-certified laboratory in San Carlos, Calif., providing a host of preconception and prenatal genetic testing services. Test offerings include pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to identify chromosomal anomalies or inherited genetic conditions in embryos during an IVF cycle; products-of-conception testing following miscarriage to rapidly and extensively analyze fetal chromosomes in order to understand the cause of the pregnancy loss; non-invasive prenatal testing to determine paternity; carrier screening tests to detect whether parents carry genetic variations that may result in disease in the child; and Panorama, a safe, simple test for pregnant women that identifies the most common chromosomal anomalies in a fetus as early as 9 weeks. Natera's PreNATUS clinical trial for non-invasive screening of fetal chromosomal anomalies is funded by the NIH and is being conducted by the leaders in maternal-fetal medicine in the United States. For more information, visit www.natera.com.

Contact:

Russo Partners

Ian Stone, 619-308-6541

ian.stone@russopartnersllc.com

or

Natera, Inc.

Gautam Kollu, 650-249-9090

gkollu@natera.com



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