BioPharma, Pharma, Diagnostics

Mission Bio raises $30M in Series B round to develop genomics platform

The company said it would use the funding to expand its single-cell DNA sequencing platform into CRISPR applications and global markets.

A company focused on DNA and genomics has raised its second major round of private investment.

South San Francisco, California-based Mission Bio said Thursday that it had raised $30 million in a Series B financing round, from Agilent Technologies, Cota Capital, LAM Capital and Mayfield. Consequently, the total amount of money raised by the company is $50 million.

The purpose of the latest round of funding is to expand the company’s single-cell DNA sequencing platform, Tapestri, into CRISPR applications and move into global markets. Tapestri was launched in October 2017 and has been adopted by more than a dozen cancer centers in the US.

Mission Bio’s technology is designed to allow for molecular profiling of individual cells and accurate measurement of underlying genetic diversity, with the purpose of enabling development of more precise medicines and diseased cells that may persist after treatment. The company describes its method as being capable of analyzing tens of thousands of individual cells in parallel and being 50 times more sensitive than traditional next-generation sequencing techniques.

“Cancer will kill 10 million people this year alone,” CEO Charlie Silver said in a statement. “We can beat cancer with more effective, dynamic therapies, but we first need to precisely understand its biology, starting with the varying genetic composition of each and every cancerous cell.”

The firm is also touting its platform as a way to more precisely detect gene editing through CRISPR, thereby detecting both on-target and off-target effects.

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Other companies that market next-generation sequencing platforms include Foundation Medicine, Illumina and Thermo Fisher Scientific. In September, the Food and Drug Administration approved Adaptive Biotechnologies’ clonoSEQ assay as the first ever NGS test to detect minimal residual disease in acute lymphoblastic leukemia and multiple myeloma. Minimal residual disease, or MRD, is a marker that can predict a patient’s risk of relapse, and an MRD-negative complete response is usually considered the strongest clinical response a patient can achieve.

Technology that can detect edits to individual cells will undoubtedly also be of interest as development in CRISPR-Cas9 technology intensifies. In October, CRISPR toolmaker Synthego raised $110 million in a Series C funding round, led by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund. That same month, the FDA lifted a hold it had placed on a planned study by CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex Pharmaceuticals of their drug, CTX001, in sickle cell disease, accepting their Investigational New Drug application to initiate it.

Photo: Natali_Mis, Getty Images

Correction: An earlier version of this story, while correctly reporting that Mission Bio had raised a Series B round, carried a headline that incorrectly stated it was a Series A. The headline has been updated.