US-based health diagnostics company Sera Prognostics has raised $36m through Series D funding round to increase the commercialisation of its PreTRM test.

Alongside two strategic healthcare companies, the funding round was led by Blue Ox Healthcare Partners, an investment firm that provides capital to healthcare companies.

The funding round also saw participation from existing investors, Domain Associates, InterWest Partners, Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, Catalyst Health Ventures and Chione.

Proceeds from the funding round will be used for commercialisation of its test, as well as measuring real-world clinical improvements and economic savings through collaboration with health providers.

The PreTRM test is a clinically validated blood biomarker test that enables physicians to accurately assess a woman’s individualised risk of preterm birth, measuring and analysing proteins in the blood to predict preterm birth.

In early stage pregnancy, from 19 weeks of gestation, the biomarker allows the clinician to understand the risk of premature birth, enabling them to make proactive clinical judgments.

Sera Prognostics chairman and chief executive officer Gregory C Critchfield said: “Preterm birth, the leading cause of infant mortality, is an unaddressed global crisis, accounting for over $30 billion in excess annual spending in the US alone.

“Blue Ox’s investment in Sera is a testament to the industry’s confidence in PreTRM and Sera’s mission of improving the health of pregnant women and newborns while reducing the cost of treatments for premature birth.”

Preterm birth impacts 15 million babies every year, with one million deaths occurring from prematurity, according to the March of Dimes, a non-profit organisation.

Out of the almost four million babies born each year in the US, around one in ten is born prematurely.