Progenity Raises $125M to Expand Diagnostics for Women’s Health

Xconomy San Diego — 

Progenity, a San Diego molecular diagnostics company focused on women’s health, reproductive medicine, and oncology, has raised $125 million in a Series B financing led by New York’s Athyrium Capital Management, an earlier investor. The financing marks one of the biggest life sciences deal involving a San Diego company this year.

Proceeds from the financing, which comprises both equity and debt, will be used to develop molecular diagnostics, precision therapeutics, and related microbiome analytics and consumer information on health nutrition, according to a company statement Tuesday. The company says it has developed a portfolio of diagnostic tests for pre-eclampsia, genetic carrier testing, inheritable cancer genetics, liquid biopsy, and noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT).

Progenity operates a CLIA-certified laboratory in Ann Arbor, MI, licensed in California and five other states to provide testing services, according to the company’s website.

In its statement, Progenity executive chairman and founder Harry Stylli says proceeds from the financing also “will be used to enhance our menu and service offerings to our physician clients in the prenatal and broader women’s health market on a national scale.”

Athyrium founder and managing partner Jeffrey Ferrell also is quoted in the statement as saying, “With this financing, we believe that the company will be well capitalized to execute on its internal pipeline and business development opportunities.” At the end of September, Athyrium had over $3.5 billion of assets under management.

Progenity was incorporated in 2012 as Ascendant MDX, and raised $13.5 million in a Series A financing, according to a 2013 filing. In 2015, Progenity acquired Palo Alto, CA-based Carmenta Bioscience, which had developed a prenatal diagnostic for preeclampsia that is based on a simple blood test.

Progenity represents a comeback for executive chairman Stylli, who was fired from his previous diagnostics company, San Diego-based Sequenom, amid accusations of mishandling data related to a noninvasive prenatal test for Down syndrome. LabCorp (NYSE: LH) acquired Sequenom just over a year ago in a deal valued at $302 million.