Nucleix, a Rehovot, Israel- and San Diego, CA-based liquid biopsy company, secured $55m in funding.
The round was led by RA Capital Management, with participation from new investors including funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Lilly Asia Ventures, LYFE Capital and MILFAM. Existing investors participating in the round include OrbiMed, Aurum Ventures, DSC Investment, OCI Bio Investments and Zohar Zisapel.
The company will use the funds to continue the rapid advancement of its methylation technology and to develop its lead product for the early detection of lung cancer.
Led by Chris Hibberd, chief executive officer, Nucleix has developed technology for the detection of methylation changes and is compatible with both next-generation sequencing (NGS) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) platforms. The company is applying the NGS application of EpiCheck for deep discovery, to reveal new biomarkers that may be used in the early detection and monitoring of cancer. In turn, these discoveries can be advanced as tests using the PCR application of EpiCheck, with the potential to run cost-effectively in both centralized and local laboratories.
Lung EpiCheck is a sensitive, methylation-based blood assay for the early detection of lung cancer. The test analyzes subtle, disease-specific changes in DNA methylation markers meeting the needs of its target population – current and past smokers – to catch cancer earlier when treatment can be most effective. Nucleix is now developing an improved version of the assay and will initiate a prospective study to validate the test, with the goal of making it available in 2022.
The company is building an EpiCheck franchise, beginning with the Bladder EpiCheck testing kit, marketed in Europe for bladder cancer recurrence.