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Shares of Sequenom, Inc. stock jumped 25.9 percent, or $5.33 a share, to $25.89 Wednesday after the San Diego-based genetics firm announced at an analyst meeting that it had positive results for its fetal Down Syndrome detection test and that it would be doing more studies to confirm the findings.
The firm said it can pinpoint early in a pregnancy if a fetus will develop the disease, which can cause mental retardation and weak muscle tone. According to a release, the SEQureDx test successfully tested fetuses for the gene Trisomy 21, which causes Down Syndrome, in 219 patients with no false positives or negatives. The company used the test on women in both their first and second trimesters. Three of the 219 patients had babies with the condition. This data adds to a study of another 200 patients that the company successfully conducted earlier.
The current tests on the market for women — amniocentesis and hormone screenings — have not proved to be as accurate and cannot be done in the first three months of pregnancy.
Sequenom also announced that it plans to do additional testing on 3,000 to 5,000 women. The results of that study are expected to be released in June, about the same time the product hits the commercial market.