San Diego-based biotech firm Epic Sciences announced Tuesday that the company has raised $13 million to pursue its molecular diagnostics technology that can better detect and monitor cancer as well as enable personalize cancer treatment.
Investors in the series B round included new investors Domain Associates, Roche Venture Fund and Pfizer Venture Investments as well as several individual investors who were not identified. Domain Associates’ investment brings its partner Kim Kamdar to Epic Sciences’ board.
Epic Sciences’ technology focuses on CTCs (circulating tumor cells) that “escape from solid tumors, enter the bloodstream where they travel and eventually cause cancer metastasis,” according to a company news release. By doing a blood test that analyzes the CTCs, Epic is providing an alternative to biopsies, the current standard in diagnosing cancers. The company also believes that unlike biopsies that cannot be repeated, the blood tests can be repeatedly conducted to provide real time information on how the disease is progressing. In turn that information can help to target specific treatments for each patient.
“Epic’s technology has achieved an unprecedented level of sensitivity in detecting circulating tumor cells to develop crucial cancer diagnostics for the millions of patients who need to understand whether their treatment is working and the status of their disease,” said Dr. Kamdar of Domain Associates, in the news release. “With deep vertical integration of expertise in engineering, computation, pathology and oncology, we see that Epic’s technology will not only have a major impact on clinical cancer treatments but also on the development of new cancer therapeutics and companion diagnostics.”
The money will be used to expand R&D as well as other capabilities to commercialize the CTC diagnostics platform, which Epic licenses from The Scripps Research Institute. The company is collaborating with seven pharma companies to develop “companion diagnostics for oncology drug candidates.” The partnerships include several phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials that will involve more than 1,500 patients.
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