Startups, Diagnostics

Notable Labs raises $10M for drug testing service to develop therapeutic index for oncologists

The goal of the business is to help physicians identify the most suitable combinations of FDA-approved treatments that can be immediately prescribed.

Notable Labs, a medtech startup cofounded by former hedge fund manager Matthew De Silva after his father developed brain cancer, has closed a $10 million Series A round. The funding will be used to support clinical trials for the development of a diagnostic for people with blood cancers, starting with leukemia.

The company filed a Form D at the end of August and provided a news release with some details. The goal of the business is to help physicians identify and prioritize the most suitable drugs for their leukemia patients.

Builders VC led the Series A with support from existing investors First Round Capital, First Round Capital, Founder’s Fund, Eleven Two Capital and other investors. Y Combinator is also a backer — Notable Labs took part in its winter 2015 cohort. To date, the company has raised $17 million.

In the past year, the business has ramped up its hiring according to a statement provided by Notable. Scott Patterson joined Notable to lead the engineering team from DNA testing service Counsyl where he was vice president of engineering. Marianne Santaguida, previously with Stemcentrx, heads up scientific partnerships at Notable. Omid Karkouti, formerly the head of sales at Science Exchange, was also recently recruited as vice president of Business Development.

Unlike other cancer diagnostics companies, Notable Labs cofounder and CEO Matthew De Silva said in a phone interview that its technology is not about genomics. But his business is applying combinations of FDA-approved treatments to leukemia cells and healthy white blood cells and seeing how many leukemia cells survive to measure the therapeutic index.

There is also an automation element to Notable. As a way to improve the efficiency of identifying FDA-approved drugs to combat leukemia, it uses robots to analyze patient samples — its website shows them in action.

Although De Silva’s business set out to provide a service to oncologists to help them figure out the most effective drugs for solid tumors, it decided blood cancers make more sense since blood cells are more numerous, easier to obtain and the company’s tests can be conducted the same day.

In the past couple of years, Notable Labs has conducted feasibility studies in collaboration with academic partners at Princess Margaret Cancer Center in Toronto and the University of Florida in Gainesville. It is using the funding, in part, to set up the next stage of clinical trials.

De Silva said the path it is taking would have the cancer diagnostics conducted by CLIA-certified labs. Although De Silva acknowledged the tests Notable Labs has developed could be useful for research, it developed the test for benefit of clinicians and their patients.

“We really are a service provider for the oncologists. We don’t interface with the patients at this point. The drugs that we may be testing for the doctor are often not on their radar, such as an arthritis drug.

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