Freenome said it has raised $270 million in an oversubscribed Series C financing toward advancing a pipeline of blood-based tests based on its multiomics platform, which is designed to improve early cancer detection from a routine blood draw. The funds will also be used for continued development of its testing platform.
The first test in the pipeline is a blood test designed to screen for colorectal cancer and detect precancerous lesions, which the company plans to advance toward approval, reimbursement, and commercialization. Freenome said it will use proceeds from its funding to accelerate its PREEMPT CRC clinical study (NCT04369053), which is intended to validate the test as an accurate, convenient, and patient-friendly option for colorectal cancer screening.
PREEMPT CRC is an FDA registrational study launched in May to support approval by the FDA of what the company said would be the first front-line blood test to help the 45 million people who are currently not up-to-date on colorectal cancer screening guidelines in the U.S. The multi-center observational trial aims to enroll 14,000 average-risk participants who will undergo a routine screening colonoscopy, and has an estimated primary completion date of July 30, 2021.
Freenome said the financing will also accelerate its efforts to expand its platform in order to create a portfolio of blood tests for multiple cancers. The platform uses a multiomics approach of analyzing large, complex biological datasets, integrating technologies that apply genomics, transcriptomics, methylomics, and proteomics with advanced computational biology and machine learning techniques, with the aim of leveraging multiple signatures for early cancer detection.
The Series C financing was led by new investor Bain Capital Life Sciences and existing investor Perceptive Advisors. As part of the Series C financing, Ellen Hukkelhoven, Ph.D., a managing director at Perceptive Capital, will join the Freenome board of directors.
“Freenome is at an exciting inflection point as it moves its first product through pivotal testing, and we see future opportunities on the horizon to expand its platform to create blood-based screening tests for a range of additional cancers,” Hukkelhoven said in a statement.
Bain and Perceptive were joined by a group of other new investors, including Fidelity Management & Research Company, Janus Henderson Investors, Farallon Capital Management, Rock Springs Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, EcoR1 Capital, Catalio Capital Management, and the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.
Freenome’s existing investors also participated in the financing, including RA Capital Management, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., American Cancer Society’s BrightEdge Ventures, Sands Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, DCVC, GV (formerly Google Ventures), Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Novartis, Polaris Partners, Roche Venture Fund, Soleus Capital, and Section 32.
“We are delighted to have Bain Capital Life Sciences and Perceptive Advisors as lead investors, and thank all of our new and existing investors for their ongoing confidence in Freenome and our mission to improve accessibility and adherence to cancer screening,” Freenome CEO Gabriel Otte stated yesterday. “We are moving closer every day to a world where cancer can be detected early or even in a precancerous state and ultimately save many lives.”