updated 5/24/2011 11:16:37 AM ET 2011-05-24T15:16:37

SALT LAKE CITY, May 24, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sera Prognostics, Inc., a women's health company developing diagnostic tests for early prediction of preterm birth and other pregnancy complications, today announced the publication of an article in the May 2011 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology that highlighted the innovative proteomic methods used by Drs. M. Sean Esplin and Steven W. Graves to identify novel biomarkers for the prediction of preterm birth.

The quality of the scientific research and its clinical importance were the focus of an accompanying Journal Club Roundtable discussion of this newly published work. Dr. George A. Macones, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis, and Associate Editor of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AJOG), led the discussion on the study, praising the powerful proteomics techniques as an expansive strategy taken by the authors to uncover a broad array of possible predictors. Noting the implications for future research efforts to address unmet medical needs in significant fields like perinatal care, the panel of Maternal-Fetal medicine experts suggested that this thoughtful, iterative approach "will likely advance our field much more quickly than traditional methods."

"It is an honor to be recognized by such distinguished peers for the quality of our efforts to discover meaningful biomarkers for pregnancy complications," stated Dr. Graves on behalf of the research team. "Our approach serves to illustrate the impact of using new technologies to uncover previously unknown identifiers, which may lead to significant advances in medical care."

The May 2011 issue of AJOG also presents the full results of the initial study that analyzed serum samples collected from pregnant women that were part of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units (MFMU) Network multi-center Preterm Prediction Study. Applying the novel investigative approach of the Sera co-founders, the study identified unique peptides, which in combination with certain additional biomarkers, demonstrated a high sensitivity (86.5%) and specificity (80.1%) in predicting women who went on to have preterm birth. Analyses of data from a second study, using an independent set of patient samples, were consistent with these results and were reported at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's Annual Meeting earlier this year.

"It is exciting that our research team was recognized for the strong science behind their work," stated Mark J. Ostrowski, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sera Prognostics. "Sera is now in the process of translating this strong science into a commercially available diagnostic test to improve the early prediction of an individual woman's preterm birth risk. The results of this test will provide physicians with objective personalized information that can be used to guide treatments designed for women at risk of preterm delivery and, ultimately, improve the health of preterm infants."

Sera has launched its prospective, large multi-center Proteomic Assessment of Preterm Risk (PAPR) clinical study in hospitals selected from western, northeast and southern U.S. regions. The study will analyze longitudinally collected serum samples during a woman's pregnancy. The results from this and other planned studies will be used to support the translation of Sera's underlying proprietary technology into a commercial test format.

About Preterm Birth:

Of the 4.5 million births per year in the U.S., approximately one in eight babies, or 12 percent, are born premature each year. Preterm birth is the leading cause of illness and death in newborns and is associated with a significantly increased risk of major long-term childhood medical complications including learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, chronic respiratory illness, mental retardation, seizures, and vision and hearing loss. According to a study by the March of Dimes, the annual public healthcare cost of caring for preterm infants in the U.S. is over $26 billion. Additional lifetime costs for children with preterm birth-related medical complications are estimated at approximately $500,000 per child.

About Sera Prognostics, Inc.

Sera Prognostics is a private biotechnology company focused on developing diagnostic tests that use proprietary biomarkers that are predictive of preterm birth and other pregnancy complications. Sera was founded in 2008 and licensed its serum proteomics discovery technology and novel peptides from Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. The Company has assembled a management team and board of directors with significant experience in the development and commercialization of women's healthcare diagnostic products. Sera is located in Salt Lake City, Utah; for more information, please visit the Company's website at www.seraprognostics.com .

CONTACT: Company Contact:
         Andrew Sauter
         Sera Prognostics - CFO
         info@seraprognostics.com
         (925) 367-4042
         
         Media Contact:
         Terri Clevenger
         Continuum Health Communications
         tclevenger@continuumhealthcom.com
         (203) 227-0209

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