Counsyl raises $28M, launches BRCA test

Genetic testing company Counsyl raised $28 million in Series D financing to kick-start the launch of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 Inherited Cancer Screen and invest in product development. 

The Series D funding round was led by the Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners and Goldman Sachs Asset Management. It raises the company's total haul to $93 million.

South San Francisco-based Counsyl says the BRCA1 and BRCA2 Inherited Cancer Screen tests for the likelihood of inheriting breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancers. The company points out that family history plays a role and says 5% to 10% of cancers are inherited. It plans to offer screens for more cancers in the future.

The Inherited Cancer Screen faces a plethora of competitors due to the 2013 Supreme Court decision overturning Myriad Genetic's ($MYGN) patent on BRCA testing. But Myriad has sued the new entrants for infringement of method patents, and Counsyl could be in its crosshairs as well. The lawsuits are ongoing. In March a federal district court ruled against Myriad in its effort to secure a preliminary injunction against Ambry Genetics.

Counsyl is also launching Counsyl Complete, which allows participating doctors to give results, monitor and follow up with their patients online. The company also offers the Counsyl Family Prep Screen to give couples information about diseases they may pass on to their children. 

Genetic testing is becoming the norm in part due to lower prices brought about by new companies such as Counsyl. Private insurers are gaining interest as well. In an industry first, United Healthcare recently agreed to provide coverage of Myriad's multigene myRisk Hereditary Cancer Test for all of its members, said Myriad CEO Peter Meldrum during the company's earnings call. 

- read the release

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story referred to the BRCA test as the Family Prep Screen, which is a separate Counsyl product, instead of the Inherited Cancer Screen. We regret the error.


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