New Study Accurately Predicts Pregnant Woman’s Risk of Spontaneous Very Preterm Birth

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Nixxi’s new preterm birth biomarkers research published in Human Reproduction Open reveals ratio of maternal steroid hormones tested in first trimester demonstrates risk for preterm birth prior to 32 weeks

Nixxi, a biotech company deeply committed to tackling and improving human behavior and biological conditions through advanced analytics, announces the results of new research on its preterm birth biomarkers in the peer-reviewed publication Human Reproduction Open. The study demonstrates that a ratio of maternal steroid hormones, when tested in the first trimester, accurately predicts a pregnant woman’s risk for having a spontaneous preterm birth prior to 32 weeks (called “very preterm birth”). Babies born at less than 32 weeks have higher rates of complications and a greater likelihood of long-term care needs, and these pregnancy outcomes result in significant costs to the healthcare system. The findings are important as early detection allows clinicians to identify those women at the greatest risk for preterm delivery and implement behavioral and clinical interventions to mitigate risk.

“Nixxi has taken a fresh look at more than 40 years of research in the area of preterm birth to identify opportunities to advance the science,” said Avi Patil, MD, Nixxi founder and chief executive officer. “By utilizing an advanced targeted steroid metabolic approach, our team discovered an imbalance in hormonal pathways highly correlated to preterm delivery resulting in a promising new test that can be used early in pregnancy to identify women at risk for spontaneous preterm delivery less than 32 weeks’ gestation. This data will arm healthcare providers with valuable insights on identifying their at-risk patient population and proactively caring for these patients with heightened needs.”

About the Study
Ninety-three pregnant women who had plasma samples obtained during the late first trimester/early second trimester were included in the study. Of those women:

  •     28 delivered prior to 32 weeks
  •     40 delivered between 33-37 weeks
  •     25 delivered after 37 weeks

Plasma samples were processed for mass spectroscopy and the amount of progesterone and progesterone metabolites in the samples were measured. Mean values of each measured steroid metabolite were calculated and compared among women delivering less than 32 weeks, less than 37 weeks and greater than 37 weeks. Maternal serum levels of 11-deoxycorticsterone (DOC) measured during the late first trimester or early second trimester correlate with an increased risk for preterm delivery prior to 32 weeks. When the ratio of DOC to 16-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone was measured, the association with delivery prior to 32 weeks was stronger.

About Preterm Birth
Preterm birth is defined as the delivery of a baby before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. A full-term pregnancy term lasts between 37-40 weeks or about nine months. Preterm babies tend to have more health problems and stay in the hospital longer than babies born full-term. The earlier in pregnancy a baby is born, the greater the chance of serious health problems, both immediate and long-term, including slower growth, cerebral palsy, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), diseases of the ears and eyes and even blindness.

Preterm birth affects one in 10 pregnancies in the U.S. and the overall rate has continued to increase for the past four consecutive years. Preterm birth and its complications are the largest contributors to infant death in the U.S. and globally. In the U.S. alone, the annual economic burden associated with preterm birth amounts to $26.2 billion. The majority of these costs stem from those babies born before 32 weeks.

Common causes of preterm birth include a woman having had multiple pregnancies, infections and chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. There could also be shared genetic factors among family members that affect risk. Women who live in poverty, both in low-income countries and more developed nations, also have a much higher risk. Often, however, no cause will be identified.

Other known risk factors for preterm birth include having had a prior preterm birth, pregnancy with twins or other multiples, a short interval between pregnancies, fertility treatments, and problems with the major organs involved in the pregnancy. Smoking, drug use, inability in maintaining a healthy weight and stress can all contribute to preterm birth risk as well. Lifestyle choices and decision-making play a critical role in eliminating some of these risk factors and give women a better chance of having a healthy pregnancy and baby.

About Nixxi
Nixxi, based in Phoenix, AZ, is a biotech company deeply committed to tackling and improving human behavior and biological conditions through advanced analytics, led by a group of experienced, determined professionals with a variety of healthcare backgrounds.

Nixxi’s mission is to reduce pregnancy risk and enhance neonatal outcomes through early and cost-effective testing paired with actionable insights for physicians and patients.

For more information or to see the full study, please go to

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