Proceeds Will Fund Pivotal Validation Study of Company’s Blood-based Test for the Screening of Colorectal Cancer
Platform Has Potential for Use in Multiple Cancer Types and Enhanced Drug Development by Characterizing Tumor and Immune Signatures
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Freenome, a biotechnology company that has pioneered the most comprehensive multiomics platform for early cancer detection through a routine blood draw, today announced the close of its $160 million Series B financing, bringing its total financing to $238 million to date. Freenome will use the proceeds to further the development of its early cancer detection blood test powered by its platform. The Company plans to conduct a pivotal validation study and submit to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Parallel Review Program the first application of its platform in colorectal cancer screening and expand its laboratory infrastructure and software to support its continued growth.
The Series B financing was led by RA Capital Management and Polaris Partners. They were joined by other new investors including Perceptive Advisors, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Roche Venture Fund, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, and the American Cancer Society’s BrightEdge Ventures. Freenome’s existing investors also participated in the financing including Andreessen Horowitz, GV (formerly Google Ventures), Data Collective Venture Capital, Section 32, and Verily Life Sciences (a subsidiary of Alphabet focused on life sciences and healthcare).
“We are fortunate to have an experienced and proven group of biotech and healthcare investors who share our mission of making early detection of cancer a routine part of patient care,” said Gabe Otte, Chief Executive Officer of Freenome, “In addition, we are excited to welcome several strategic investors who are committed to our mission. Each brings insight, expertise, and partnership opportunities to accelerate our path to positively impacting patient care.”
“Freenome’s work holds much promise and potential,” said Bob Crutchfield, Managing Director of the American Cancer Society’s philanthropic impact fund, BrightEdge. “We hope our investment will help lead to accelerated patient access to this technology and better outcomes for cancer patients.”
Mr. Otte added, “Since our founding in 2014, we have been focused on building a multi-disciplinary team to achieve our vision of a future where cancer mortality is significantly reduced through early detection matched with the right treatment informed by our blood test. We have already demonstrated promising clinical results at Digestive Disease Week this year, where our cell-free DNA (cfDNA) assay and machine learning approach enabled high sensitivity and specificity in a cohort of mostly early stage colorectal cancer patients. This funding will allow us to execute the necessary validation study for approval and reimbursement coverage of our colorectal cancer screening test, as well as expand our platform to other forms of cancer or immune-driven disease areas in the future.”
Freenome’s multiomics platform detects key biological signals from a routine blood draw. The platform integrates assays for cell-free DNA, methylation, and proteins with advanced computational biology and machine learning techniques to identify additive signatures that improve the accuracy for early cancer detection given the molecular subtypes of cancer are heterogeneous in nature. This strategy incorporates a multidimensional view of both tumor- and immune-derived signatures that enables the early detection of cancer, instead of relying only on tumor-derived markers, which may miss the early signs of cancer. Freenome’s first cancer test is for the screening of colorectal cancer, the second deadliest form of cancer in the U.S. When identified early, colorectal cancer has a 90 percent five-year relative survival rate compared to 14 percent when detected at a more advanced stage according to data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program.
“The most affordable and effective treatment for metastatic cancer is to detect it early, when the tumor is still small and local, and we can cure it with surgery. It’s with that vision that we have invested in Freenome,” said Peter Kolchinsky, Managing Partner of RA Capital. “Freenome’s multiomics platform is unlike anything we’ve seen, and we believe it can unlock the promise of using blood tests to detect and treat cancer early.”
“The only way to achieve meaningful progress against cancer is to interweave normally disparate fields towards a single mission. And the leadership team at Freenome has built a world-class, multi-disciplinary team of molecular biologists, computational biologists, machine learning scientists, and engineers,” said Amir Nashat, Managing Partner of Polaris Partners. “Having seen the tremendous progress Freenome has made in early cancer detection, we are excited to continue charting that path together.”
Freenome is a biotechnology company that has pioneered the most comprehensive multiomics platform for early cancer detection. By combining a deep expertise in molecular biology with advanced computational biology and machine learning techniques to recognize disease-associated patterns among billions of circulating, cell-free biomarkers, Freenome is developing simple and accurate blood tests for early cancer detection and integrating the actionable insights into health systems to operationalize a machine learning feedback loop between care and science. Examples of Freenome’s novel research include advancing the fields understanding of using machine learning for early stage colorectal cancer detection featured at Digestive Disease Week and using cfDNA fragment coverage to predict gene expression featured at American Association for Cancer Research’s Annual Meeting. Freenome is headquartered in South San Francisco, California. For more information about Freenome, visit www.freenome.com and view open positions at freenome.com/careers.
About Freenome’s AI-PATTERNS Oncology Studies
By using artificial intelligence (AI) to recognize disease-associated patterns among billions of circulating, cell-free biomarkers, Freenome is developing simple and accurate blood tests for early-cancer detection. Freenome’s AI-PATTERNS studies are a series of rigorous clinical development and validation studies across a diverse range of cancer types. The first in the series, AI-EMERGE, is focused on colorectal cancer.