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Bluestar Genomics Raises $70M in Series C Funding Round

NEW YORK – Early cancer detection firm Bluestar Genomics said on Wednesday that it has closed a $70 million Series C financing round.

The San Diego-based firm has also appointed Felix Feng and Craig Venter to its scientific advisory board.

The oversubscribed financing round was led by Mattias Westman, founding partner of Prosperity Capital Management, and includes existing and new investors such as Prosperity Capital Management, an undisclosed venture fund based in San Francisco, as well as a "large, diversified" asset manager on the West Coast, the company said in a statement.

Singapore-based asset management firm Vahoca served as a financial adviser to BlueStar for the funding round.

Feng currently serves as a professor of radiation oncology, urology, and medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Venter is chairman and CEO of the J. Craig Venter Institute.

"[Feng and Venter's] leading scientific and clinical expertise will help accelerate our development and commercialization efforts," Samuel Levy, CEO and CSO of Bluestar, said in a statement. "Collectively, these milestones will extend our ability to deliver on our promise to improve on existing cancer screening and provide a new solution where none exists."

Bluestar's 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC)-based liquid biopsy assay tracks epigenetic modifications in a patient's blood sample that are linked to several cancers. The firm's initial test will focus on detecting early-stage pancreatic cancer.

"The convergence of innovative technologies has pushed the cost of multi-cancer screening down by 20-fold, allowing for continued optimization of cancer detection via routine blood draw to improve patient early treatment options," Venter said in a statement. "With the multi-cancer screening market projected to scale to more than $100 billion in the US alone, Bluestar Genomics' technology is uniquely positioned to address the needs of over 60 million patients."

Last month, Bluestar received breakthrough device designation from the US Food and Drug Administration for the noninvasive 5hmC assay to detect pancreatic cancer in patients with new-onset diabetes.