Castle Biosciences reels in $11M for cancer Dx

Castle Biosciences CEO Derek Maetzold

Castle Biosciences closed the first tranche of a $20 million Series F round, roping in $11.7 million to ramp up marketing for its cutaneous melanoma test and R&D for its cancer diagnostic tools.

Investment firm Industry Ventures led financing, and the company expects to close the round by the end of the third quarter, Castle CEO Derek Maetzold told FierceDiagnostics. Castle's first product is a test that predicts which patients were at high risk for uveal melanoma, a rare eye cancer. The company also offers tests for esophageal cancer, mesothelioma and a cutaneous melanoma diagnostic, which use information from tumors to help doctors find the best treatment for patients.

The latest financing will help Castle add commercial infrastructure to meet demand for the company's cutaneous melanoma test and fund ongoing projects and general purposes, Maetzold said. "Our expectation in the next two to three years is that the cutaneous melanoma test will continue to work its way into the standard of care. In 2017, we'll have 5 to 6 proprietary high value clinical tests," he said.

Castle will also use funds to increase its employee base over the next 18 months, Maetzold told The Houston Business Journal. The company plans to double its nationwide sales force from 15 individuals to around 30, and add 5 to 6 employees at its Friendswood, TX-based headquarters, he said.

Last August, Castle raked in $11.8 million in new financing to expand the availability of its cancer molecular diagnostic tests, with VC firm HealthQuest Capital and a number of existing investors contributing funds.

Meanwhile, the company is working hard to dial up business through new hires and payer deals. In June, Castle secured payer contracts with MultiPlan, FedMed and Preferred Medical Claim Solutions to make its tests available for more than 120 million covered lives. The same month, the company appointed Veracyte ($VCYT) CEO Bonnie Anderson to its board of directors, looking to draw on Anderson's diagnostics expertise to advance its portfolio of cancer tests.

- read Castle Biosciences' statement
- here's the HBJ story