Boreal Genomics pulls in $18M Series C for genomic research and Dx test expansion

California's Boreal Genomics pulled in an $18 million Series C financing to back further commercial growth of its genomic research tools and diagnostic test business.

"With the financial and strategic support of our investors, we will continue our expansion into the life science research market and launch clinical applications aimed at improving the standard of care for cancer patients through routine blood-based testing," CEO Nitin Sood said in a statement. 

The Los Altos company sells research tools and develops diagnostic tests focused on noninvasive tumor profiling and cancer monitoring. Boreal's core focus: genomic analysis of tumor-derived circulating nucleic acids in blood. And execs want to roll out new blood-based diagnostic tests to help detect and monitor disease.

Boreal said it will use the venture cash infusion to expand commercial marketing for translational research and also build up its laboratory capacity, including a new laboratory and commercial operations in Mountain View, CA. As well, the company will roll out clinical applications for noninvasive genomic profiling and monitoring of cancer.

Key products include the company's OnTarget platform, which performs genomic analysis of cell-free DNA in plasma. The system has high sensitivity and can both detect and quantify mutations in circulating nucleic acids from tumors. So far, the company has typically marketed its OnTarget system to clients in translational research, who use it to carry out genomic profiling of solid tumors from blood. The company bills it as offering single-molecule sensitivity, high specificity and multiplexing across a number of targets. The OnTarget assay is currently available only for research use, but plans call for certifying it for use in clinical studies soon.

Existing investors ARCH Venture Partners and Kearny Venture Partners participated in the new round, which also attracted unnamed strategic and private investors.

Boreal has developed technology that's useful for noninvasive liquid biopsies, a growing sector. RainDance Technologies is among companies with a related focus. The Massachusetts outfit recently secured $35 million in debt financing to support global commercial expansion for its gene-sequencing tools that are also used in part to perform liquid biopsies to help detect circulating nucleic acids.

Boreal launched in 2007 and employs about 40 people. It previously raised $7 million, including $6.9 million in 2010 and a small Series A angel round in 2008, a spokesperson told FierceDiagnostics. Boreal also maintains an R&D site in Vancouver, Canada.

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