Gene-based test for women would detect endometriosis without surgery

For years research has shown a delay in diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis, a condition that can cause pelvic pain and infertility in women. The lack of an inexpensive, noninvasive method for definitely identifying endometriosis has driven some recent innovation in diagnostic tools including one company that’s armed with a prototype for a DNA-based test and looking for funding.

Juneau Biosciences LLC is looking to raise $10 million, according to a new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. A call to the company was not returned, but it appears that it is testing a prototype of a DNA-based test that would determine whether a woman is predisposed to develop endometriosis.

In January, the company posted on its Facebook page that the first endometriosis prototype genetic test was going to be released to a select group of physicians’ offices for clinical trials in February. It developed the test from an analysis of DNA samples from more than 3,000 women participating in its End to Endo study, in which researchers discovered a number of DNA variations that appeared in women with endometriosis.

About 5 million U.S. women have endometriosis, which can be treated with hormone therapy or surgery. Currently, the condition can be diagnosed definitively only through a visual examination or biopsy taken via laparoscopy.  But DNA-based tests have recently drawn interest from researchers in Australia and at Yale.


Salt Lake City-based Juneau is also working on a presymptomatic gene test to identify women at risk for preterm labor.