A familiar face is pumping up to $30 million into Indianapolis-based Strand Diagnostics over the next three years. Billionaire biotech entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong's NantWorks is investing the money to help the company speed growth and expand sales and marketing activities.
Strand's Know Error system uses bar coding, forensic principles and DNA matching to ensure that surgical biopsy samples actually belong to the patient being diagnosed. Currently, the most popular offerings are the Know Error systems for breast and prostate biopsies.
It's obviously important to ensure a biopsy can be tracked back to the correct patient. In one in 100 patients nationally, breast and prostate biopsies are misidentified or contaminated, according to Connecticut's Bridgeport Hospital, which first used the Know Error system for breast biopsies last year. But as Strand co-founder Peter Knapp notes, DNA specimen provenance assignment testing "...completes the cancer diagnostic testing cycle to provide patients a complete and accurate diagnosis, allowing physicians to proceed with the best treatment for the appropriate patient."
And Soon-Shiong also expressed enthusiasm about the investment. "The era of quantitative genomic medicine is upon us," he said in a statement. "The Know Error founding team has laid the groundwork for an innovative system that improves patient safety and diagnostic accuracy ... Their products fit directly into our vision of quantitative medicine and next-generation personalized medicine."
Beyond Strand, Soon-Shiong's company seems to have taken a great interest in Indiana this year. In January, NantWorks announced it was locating its new pharmaceutical manufacturing plant on former a Pfizer ($PFE) property near Terre Haute. The company could create up to 234 new jobs over roughly four years as a result.
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