Pre-eclampsia affects 3-5% of pregnancies and causes 10% to 15% of maternal fatalities globally, according to various surveys. The PEscreen test from Intignus Biotech will be launched in the first quarter of 2024.
Intignus Biotech, a startup from Pune, is working with the Indian Council of Medical Research to test a kit that can identify pre-eclampsia in pregnant women before symptoms appear (ICMR).
Pre-eclampsia is a substantial contributor to maternal and perinatal mortality (number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths in the first week of life), according to the National Health Portal of India. Pre-eclampsia affects 3-5% of pregnancies and causes 10% to 15% of maternal fatalities globally, according to various surveys.
Pre-eclampsia is Intignus’ first priority area when it comes to healthcare solutions for moms and kids. The PEscreen test will be implemented in 2024’s first quarter. “Pre-eclampsia patients around the world typically don’t get timely diagnoses. Only when she exhibits the classic signs of hypertension or protein in the urine is she suspected of having pre-eclampsia. She gets hospitalised because she can’t breathe and says she feels dizzy. Preeclampsia frequently results in underweight babies. Their preterm birth makes them more likely to eventually have additional neurological conditions, according to Vaishnavi Kulkarni, CEO of Intignus Biotech.
PEscreen can be done at routine monitoring visits to the gynaecologist and involves a test that takes one or two drops of the mother’s blood. The test, which takes 15 minutes, will allow the doctor to assess the risk. Pregnant women often see a gynaecologist four or five times.
“This portable, finger-sized test is compact and simple to use and interpret. This was created with the technicians, nurses, and Asha employees in mind, claims Kulkarni.
The test, which targets all pregnancies, will cost less than Rs 1,000. Kulkarni continues, “We have a market of about $5 million.
As a result of the test’s alignment with government programmes like the Janani Suraksha Yojana and Janani-Shishu Surakhsha Karyakram, the startup is trying to incorporate it into the standard procedure for prenatal care in the future. Pre-eclampsia was also discovered in Kulkarni in 2021, but she was keeping an eye on things and was able to receive early assistance.
“My daughter was born too early. Due to my aunt’s pre-eclamptic condition, my cousin was born with a congenital heart defect. She developed eclampsia and spent a few days in a coma, the witness said.
Since its establishment in 2018, Intignus Biotech has benefited from funding totaling Rs 3 crore from institutions including the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council. They were just accepted by Chennai-based Villgro, which is offering mentoring, support with money, assistance with marketing and business growth, and technical assistance, among other things.
“The nation experienced 25 million pregnancies just last year. Pre-eclampsia affects between 10 and 12 percent of these expectant mothers. This is a serious issue. Let’s say a biomarker exists that can be detected in the body very early. In that situation, this will support medical professionals in risk prediction and risk reduction through appropriate measures and treatment. A woman can avoid having a challenging pregnancy as a result, according to Dr. Roshan Yedery, sector lead for healthcare at Villgro.