Premaitha CEO Wins Bionow Outstanding Contribution Award
Manchester, UK – 1 December 2017: Premaitha Health PLC (AIM: NIPT), a leading international molecular diagnostics group focused on non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), is proud to announce that its CEO, Dr Stephen Little, last night received Bionow’s Outstanding Contribution award in recognition of his “significant contribution to the biomedical sector.”
Bionow is an organisation which supports business growth, competitiveness and innovation within the biomedical and life science sectors across Northern England.
Dr Little is a biotechnology entrep reneur, industry pioneer and an expert in the development and commercialisation of molecular diagnostics. A passionate advocate for Manchester and the North West as an ideal location for biotechnology companies, he is a highly respected personality both within the region and throughout the global diagnostics industry.
Dr Little completed a PhD in Microbial Genetics at Heriot-Watt University in 1982 and began his career with the pioneering UK biotech, Celltech. He made the transition from microbial to human genetics in 2008 when he moved to the North West to be part of a team commercialising DNA fingerprinting at ICI Diagnostics (later AstraZeneca), eventually leading a 30-strong research team and launching the world’s first CE-marked range of diagnostic products – Elucigene - for human genetic analysis.
Dr Little co-founded innovative personalised medicine company, DxS, in 2000. Using the Scorpions™ technology he co-developed, DxS pioneered the use of molecular diagnostics in oncology, applying KRAS and EGFR mutation analysis to predict the efficacy of novel targeted therapies. DxS’ TheraScreen® KRAS Mutation Test for Amgen’s Vectibix® was the first companion diagnostic of its kind in 2006. As CEO, Dr Little grew the company to 80 staff in 2009 when DxS was sold to QIAGEN BV in a landmark deal for £85 million.
At QIAGEN, Dr Little became Vice President of Personalised Healthcare, developing global companion diagnostic partnerships with industry giants Merck Serono, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bayer and Lilly. QIAGEN continues to thrive in Manchester as a leading molecular diagnostics company which, together with science-based companies, is creating hundreds of potential jobs in the region.
In 2013, Dr Little identified a new opportunity to employ the latest advances in Next Generation Sequencing technology to develop tests for non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPT) and became CEO of Premaitha Health.
In 2015, under Dr Little’s leadership, Premaitha launched the IONA® test as the first non-invasive in vitro diagnostic CE-marked product for prenatal screening, estimating the risk of a fetus being affected with Down’s syndrome or other genetic conditions. In less than two years, the IONA® test has grown to become a leading NIPT product, available in over 30 countries, generating millions of pounds of revenues and enabling pregnant women to have widescale access to high quality, safe, fast and accurate prenatal screening technology.
Dr Geoff Davison, CEO of Bionow, commented: “Dr Little is unquestionably one of the most successful entrepreneurs in our sector and he thoroughly deserves recognition for what he has achieved.”
Dr Little, said: “I am honoured to win this award and very proud that we at Premaitha have developed a product that is enabling widescale uptake of this more accurate and reliable screening method by allowing clinical laboratories to offer NIPT in-house. The result is that more and more women around the world to have access to a safe, fast and accurate test that can reduce the number of unnecessary invasive diagnostic tests, with their associated risks. I am grateful to Bionow for this award.”
For more information, please contact:
Premaitha Health PLC
Dr Stephen Little, Chief Executive Officer
Barry Hextall, Chief Financial Officer
Joanne Cross, Head of Marketing
Tel: +44 (0)161 667 1053
Cairn Financial Advisers LLP (NOMAD)
Liam Murray / James Caithie
Tel: +44 (0)20 7213 0880
Adrian Hargrave / Scott Mathieson (Corporate Finance)
Andrew Burdis/Abigail Wayne (Corporate Broking)
Tel: +44 (0)20 7220 0500
Ben Simons / Fiona Henson / Antonia Pollock
Tel: +44 (0)20 7830 9700
Premaitha is an international molecular diagnostics group which uses the latest advances in DNA analysis technology to develop safer, faster and regulatory approved genetic screening tests. The Group’s primary focus is on non-invasive prenatal tests (NIPT) for pregnant women - an emerging, multi-billion dollar global market.
Premaitha’s IONA® test was launched in 2015 as the first CE-IVD NIPT test in Europe. It enables laboratories and healthcare practitioners to offer a complete CE-marked NIPT system in-house. The IONA® test is performed on a maternal blood sample – which contains traces of fetal DNA – and estimates the risk of a fetus being affected with Down’s syndrome or other genetic conditions.
Unlike existing prenatal screening methods, due to its high level of accuracy, the IONA® test can significantly reduce the number of women subjected to unnecessary invasive follow up diagnostic procedures, such as amniocentesis, which are costly, resource intensive and carry a risk of miscarriage.
In March 2017, Premaitha acquired Yourgene Bioscience, a specialist next generation sequencing and bioinformatics company based in Taiwan, with its own NIPT screening test that operates on the same Thermo Fisher next-generation sequencing platform as Premaitha’s IONA® test. Yourgene brings significant benefits to the Group through expanded market access in Asia – the world's fastest growing NIPT market – as well as opportunities for cross-selling and the ability to jointly develop expanded test content both within NIPT and beyond.
Premaitha is headquartered in Manchester, England, with Yourgene offices in Taipei and Singapore. Its shares trade on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange (AIM: NIPT). For further information, please visit www.premaitha.com. Follow us on twitter @PremaithaHealth.