Diagnostics, Startups, Health Tech

PierianDx raises $27M in Series B to ‘democratize’ next-generation sequencing

The startup describes its software as providing clinical labs with more streamlined and accurate analysis, interpretation and reporting for accelerating personalized medicine programs.

dna, genomics

A startup that aims to provide a software-as-a-service platform to allow genomic sequencing as a standard of care has raised its latest round of financing.

St. Louis-based PierianDx said Monday that it had closed a $27 million Series B funding round, led by ATW Partners and SJW Ventures, along with existing investors Health Catalyst Capital, Inova health Systems, RTI International and ARUP Laboratories. The company closed its Series A round, for $9.3 million, in January 2016.

“PierianDx has grown tremendously over the past 18 months and is continuing to add the clinical expertise and resources necessary to execute on our vision,” PierianDx Executive Chairman Rakesh Nagarajan said in a statement. “Our team is uniquely skilled and dedicated to the adoption of clinical [next-generation sequencing] around the globe.”

The company’s stated goal is “democratization” of NGS, with a focus on making targeted therapies for cancers more accessible to healthcare systems, labs and patients. The company’s software system is called Clinical Genomicist Workspace and is described as providing clinical labs more streamlined and accurate analysis, interpretation and reporting for accelerating personalized medicine programs.

NGS involves genetically sequencing cancers and find proteins that can be targeted with certain drugs in order to increase the chances of efficacy. For some drugs, doing so is crucial, such as those that target biomarkers independent of what tissue a tumor affects, such as Merck & Co.’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for microsatellite instability-high and mismatch repair-deficient cancers and the two approved NTRK inhibitors, Bayer’s Vitrakvi (larotrectinib) and Roche’s Rozlytrek (entrectinib).

Nevertheless, implementing NGS can come with some challenges as well. In a paper published earlier this year in the journal Molecular Case Studies, researchers at Legacy Health in Portland, Oregon, wrote that NGS has proven to have tremendous power to detect and characterize a broad spectrum of mutations across many gene targets. However, “This power of NGS also results in significant challenges related to technical expertise, bioinformatics, computing infrastructure, laboratory practices, and integration into clinical decision-making.”

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