GAPPS Repository: A biobank of pregnancy and newborn specimens and data

Technology Overview

Sixteen million babies are born too soon each year, resulting in one million deaths. Another 2.6 pregnancies result in stillbirth. Preterm birth is the leading cause of death in children up to age 5, yet we know very little about the causes and mechanisms of preterm birth and stillbirth. We do not even have full understanding of the biology of healthy, normal pregnancies.

Dr. Craig Rubens

The Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS), an initiative of Seattle Children’s, has a pregnancy and neonate biobank to support research in perinatal science and beyond. Laying a foundation for discoveries that will improve maternal, newborn and child health worldwide, the repository supports a wide variety of research areas including genetics, epidemiology, biomarker discovery, diagnostic development, precision medicine, and translational science. The repository collects well-defined samples and data from each participant to support research on normal and abnormal pregnancies. The rich phenotypic data and well-characterized samples collected from a diverse population allow researchers to identify unique biomarkers, leading to predictive tests and/or therapeutics for new disease treatment. To date, the GAPPS Repository has enrolled more than 2,000 primary participants and has collected over 100,000 sample aliquots.

GAPPS is interested in developing collaborations with both nonprofit and for-profit organizations to make use of the current repository, as well as in developing prospective collection agreements. One of the research challenges concerning pregnancy and its outcomes is the time and expense of developing cohorts of research subjects. The GAPPS Repository simplifies research in this field by maintaining collection sites.

Stage of Development

  • Support for pre-clinical
  • Clinical stage developments

Partnering Opportunities

  • Collaborative research opportunity
  • Development opportunity
  • Tissue sample access
  • Cohort access
  • Consultation agreement


  1. Rubens C, Sadovsky Y, Muglia L, Gravett M, Lackritz E, Gravett C. Prevention of preterm birth: Harnessing science to address the global epidemic. Science Translational Medicine. 2014;6(262):262sr5-262sr5.
  2. Lackritz E, Wilson C, Guttmacher A, Howse J, Engmann C, Rubens C, Mason E, Muglia, Gravett M, Goldenberg R, Murray J, Spong C, Simpson J. A solution pathway for preterm birth: accelerating a priority research agenda. The Lancet Global Health. 2013;1(6):e328-e330.
  3. Goldenberg R, McClure E, Jobe A, Kamath-Rayne B, Gravette M, Rubens C. Stillbirths and neonatal mortality as outcomes. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics. 2013;123(3):252-253.
  4. Gravett C, Gravett M, Martin E, Bernson J, Khan S, Boyle D, Lannon S, Patterson J, Rubens C, Steele M. Serious and Life-Threatening Pregnancy-Related Infections: Opportunities to Reduce the Global Burden. PLoS Med. 2012;9(10):e1001324.
  5. Gravett M, Rubens C. A framework for strategic investments in research to reduce the global burden of preterm birth. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2012;207(5):368-373.

Learn More

To learn more about partnering with Seattle Children’s Research Institute on this or other projects, please contact:

Dr. Elizabeth Aylward
Director, Office of Science-Industry Partnerships