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Korean Rare Disease Diagnostics Firm 3billion Raises $10M

NEW YORK — Korean rare disease diagnostics firm 3billion said this week that it has raised $10 million in a Series B financing round.

The round was led by Korea Development Bank and included existing investors The Wells Investment and JW Asset, as well as new investors Magna Investment, Daekyo Investment, Yuanta Investment, D3 Jubilee Partners, Shinhan Capital, Nvestor, and Aventures Investment.  

The company was originally founded as a spinoff from Korean genomic services provider Macrogen to offer direct-to-consumer genomic rare disease screening tests. Earlier this year, it launched a whole-exome sequencing-based service for rare disease diagnostics.

3billion said it tested the service in a clinical study involving more than 2,000 rare disease patients from nine hospitals and found the diagnostic yield to be 50 percent. Also, the results agreed with a patient's clinical diagnosis in 95 percent of cases.

According to 3billion CEO Changwon Keum, the company's machine learning-based automated variant interpretation system reduces the time and cost of the process. "With the investment, we are going to expand clinical studies to thousands of rare [disease] patients and sophisticate our variant interpretation system by [using] large-scale rare genome data from the studies."