Clinical Genomics brings home $15M for two-gene colorectal cancer test

Clinical Genomics CEO Lawrence LaPointe

Clinical Genomics is vying for a space in the saturated liquid biopsy market, and now it has some funds to help it along the way. The company reeled in $15 million in a Series A round to support development of its genetic test for colorectal cancer.

Sydney, Australia-based VC firm OneVentures led the round. Clinical Genomics plans to use the funds to ramp up marketing for its two-gene blood test for post-surgical monitoring of colorectal cancer recurrence, CEO Lawrence LaPointe told FierceMedicalDevices in an email. The company is shooting to open a CLIA-certified testing lab and launch its test later this year, LaPointe said.

Clinical Genomics markets its two-gene test as superior to current colorectal cancer recurrence screening tools. Usually, doctors call for quarterly or semi-annual blood-based testing to see whether or not a patient's cancer will come back. But the technique often has poor sensitivity and specificity, creating the need for a more precise tool.

Clinical Genomics' test predicts cancer recurrence by looking at two tumor-specific genetic biomarkers that travel from lesions into the bloodstream. The method is backed by promising numbers, which demonstrate that the company's test offers greater sensitivity and specificity than traditional tools. "Clinical data show that our novel two-gene liquid biopsy test is approximately 2.5 times more sensitive than CEA at detecting colorectal cancer recurrence, the current guidelines-recommended standard periodic blood test," LaPointe said.

The company's market entree comes at a critical moment. The liquid biopsy field is growing at light speed, and companies are flooding the market with tools that can noninvasively evaluate cancer or predict disease recurrence. Recent advances in technology have fueled the trend.

"Understanding of cancer and free circulating tumor DNA is accelerating rapidly. For several years molecular diagnostics has been the fastest segment of pathology. Our test is an early example of how genomic medicine will enable the sensitive and specific detection of cancer at the earliest, most treatable stages to the benefit of patients and the healthcare system generally," LaPointe said.

Investors seem confident that Clinical Genomics can deliver on its promise. As part of the latest financing, OneVentures Managing Director Paul Kelly will join the company's board of directors. Kelly is quick to talk up the Edison, NJ-based company's recent strides in liquid biopsy.

"Clinical Genomics has a proven track record in bringing novel clinical diagnostics to market and is uniquely positioned to transform the paradigm of colorectal cancer surveillance with its minimally invasive two-gene blood test. We believe that Clinical Genomics is uniquely positioned to develop clinically proven products that improve patient outcomes and save lives," Kelly told FierceMedicalDevices in an email.