NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Palo Alto, California-based Freenome announced today that it has raised $65 million in Series A funding, which it will put toward conducting clinical trials to validate its non-invasive, early cancer detection technology.
The round was led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which last year helped the company raise $5.6 million in seed funding. Google Ventures, Polaris Partners, Innovation Endeavors, Spectrum 28, Asset Management Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Third Kind Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, and Allen and Company contributed to this Series A round, as did previous investors such as Data Collective and Founders Fund.
Andreessen Horowitz General Partner Vijay Pande will join Freenome's board of directors, the company added.
"These funds will help bring Freenome's technology to market faster by accelerating our ongoing research and clinical trials," wrote Cofounder and CEO Gabriel Otte in a blog post.
Freenome's early cancer detection testing utilizes genome-wide sequencing and a computational system, called Adaptive Genomics Engine, that can be trained to analyze patterns in the cell-free genetic material floating in a person's blood.
The firm is working with 25 research partners on various studies of its technology, including the University of California, San Francisco, Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, and Massachusetts General Hospital. According to Otte, five pharmaceutical companies are also using Freenome's system to explore personalized medicine strategies in cancer.
Once Freenome commercially launches its technology, it will enter a space occupied by Grail, which today announced it has raised more than $900 million through the first close of a Series B financing. The company is planning a second close that will bring the total funds raised in the Series B to more than $1 billion.
In January, Guardant Health — which also competes in this space — inked a multi-year deal with MD Anderson Cancer Center to make its Guardant360 test the preferred liquid biopsy test at the facility. Guardant and MD Anderson will also jointly fund interventional clinical utility studies on the non-invasive targeted sequencing approach.