Diagnostics, Startups

Epic Sciences raises $52M Series E round to advance liquid biopsy diagnostics

The San Diego-based firm plans to integrate its “No Cell Left Behind” platform with electronic medical records and big data analytics.

A diagnostics company plans to use its latest round of venture capital funding to advance liquid biopsy tests designed to predict how patients respond to drugs.

San Diego-based Epic Sciences said Wednesday that it had raised a $52 million Series E funding round, led by Blue Ox Healthcare Partners, with participation by Deerfield Management and radiation oncology treatments and software maker Varian Medical Systems. Existing investors also participating in the round included Altos Capital Partners, Genomic Health, Domain Associates, VI Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments and Sabby Management.

The company is developing its set of predictive tests and decision support analytics using its platform, dubbed No Cell Left Behind, which employs technology like machine learning algorithms to identify rare cancer cells in the blood. The system is designed to predict which therapies will likely be effective by looking at how populations of cancer and immune cells change in response to different drug classes. In addition to advancing liquid biopsy tests to predict drug response, Epic plans to integrate the aforementioned platform with electronic medical records and big data analytics, according to its announcement. Earlier this year, it launched the Oncotype DX AR-V7 Nucleus Detect test through its partnership with Genomic Health. The test is a liquid biopsy designed to indicate when a patient with castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer needs to change from targeted therapy to chemotherapy.

Liquid biopsy reached a significant milestone last week when one of the largest firms developing it, Guardant Health, filed for a $100 million initial public offering, having already raised more than $500 million in venture capital funding. The company would trade on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “GH.” Nevertheless, while liquid biopsy has been touted as a noninvasive alternative to tissue biopsies, adoption in the US has lagged compared with other markets, including Europe, Canada, China and Latin America.

Photo: harmpeti, Getty Images