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Sequenom delays prenatal test, says employees mishandled data

April 30th, 2009

From the San Diego Union-Tribune, Reuters, Wall Street Journal:

Shares of Sequenom Inc. fell 69 percent yesterday on news that the company was delaying the rollout of its highly anticipated prenatal test for Down syndrome because the test’s validity is in question.

The company said the delay was prompted by  “the discovery by company officials of employee mishandling of R&D test data and results.” Four employees were suspended and an inquiry will be conducted, said CEO Harry Stylli in an investor conference call after the market closed. He declined to specify what the employees were believed to have done, other than to say that “it relates to research and development test data and results.”

In earlier announcements, Sequenom officials had said their prenatal test in the first trimester of pregnancy could accurately diagnose fetal Down syndrome through the use of a simple maternal blood draw. They had estimated the worldwide market for such a test at between $3 billion and $5 billion.

In heavy after-hours trading, the company’s shares plunged to $4.55 from a close of $14.91 on Nasdaq.

Earlier posts here.

Company press release here.

One Response to “Sequenom delays prenatal test, says employees mishandled data”

  1. Jawanda Mast Says:

    Reading about Sequenom’s “setback” reminded me of a conversation I had with a journalist last year. She wanted to know if the real reason families of those with Down syndrome were concerned about this “breakthrough prenatal testing” was because with fewer births would come less money for supports.

    Reading this article leads me to turn the tables. Isn’t the real reason there is a race to get this “scientific breakthrough” on the market to boost the sales of companies producing the product?

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