Venture Capital: Early Cancer Detection Company Freenome Lands $270M
Freenome’s Series C funding round was led by new investor Bain Capital Life Sciences and existing investor Perceptive Advisors.
The Freenome multiomics platform detects key biological signals that portend early cancer. The company trained the platform on thousands of cancer-positive blood samples so that it learned which biomarker patterns signify a cancer’s stage, type, and most effective treatment pathways. Early cancer detection is now possible with a routine blood draw. The biotechnology company announced an oversubscribed series C funding round of $ 270 million. (San Francisco Business Times)
Bain Capital Life Sciences and Perceptive Advisors were joined by other new investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company, LLC, Janus Henderson Investors, Farallon Capital Management, Rock Springs Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, EcoR1 Capital, LLC, Catalio Capital Management, and the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, according to a statement.
The company’s total financing is now over $ 500 million since its launch.
A clinical trial of the Freenome colorectal cancer blood test
Freenome is currently enrolling 14,000 people for its clinical trial of PREEMPT CRC, a colorectal cancer (CRC) blood test.
CRC is the second deadliest cancer in the US. Freenome’s study will validate a blood test detect, or even prevent, CRC through the simple means of a blood test.
According to the company, millions of people avoid recommended annual CRC screening. It’s because they find the traditional testing (colonoscopy and stool-based) either inconvenient or uncomfortable.
“Freenome’s innovative approach to detecting cancer early, when it is most treatable, is on the leading edge of the liquid biopsy field with features that are advanced and differentiated for cancer screening,” said Jeffrey Schwartz, a Managing Director at Bain Capital Life Sciences. “The platform’s ability to detect a range of cancer types is compelling and we look forward to working with the company as it continues its growth.”
Use of funds
The proceeds from the new funding round will accelerate the PREEMPT CRC clinical study for Freenome’s blood test for colorectal cancer screening and precancerous lesion detection.
The funding will also advance a pipeline of blood tests for both the early detection and intervention of additional cancers.
Freenome will also utilize the new money to further develop its proprietary multiomics platform. With a comprehensive multiomics approach – analyzing large, complex biological datasets – the platform integrates technologies applying genomics, transcriptomics, methylomics, and proteomics with advanced computational biology and machine learning techniques to understand multiple signatures for early cancer detection.
According to the company, the platform is capable of characterizing tumor and immune signatures. Further, it provides a differentiated and comprehensive blood testing technology for cancer detection.
Using the platform, Freenome intends to create a portfolio of industry-leading blood tests for multiple cancers.
Freenome CEO Gabe Otte told the San Francisco Business Times that effective cancer screening was one of the most important clinical problems. He added that true early detection could save many lives.
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