Crescendo Bioscience draws $28M Series D for RA Dx

Crescendo Bioscience has secured $28 million in new Series D financing, a coup in a tough investor market that will help accelerate commercialization efforts for the company's rheumatoid arthritis molecular diagnostic test.

William Hagstrom, Crescendo's president and CEO, told FierceMedicalDevices that executives faced "the usual challenges" raising money in the current venture climate, but that the company has a number of factors in its favor, particularly that its Vectra DA blood test is "serving a very large market with significant unmet needs."

"It provides a universal language as a starting point to assess how a patient is doing at a given point in time," Hagstrom said.

The CLIA-certified test has been marketed since 2010, but the new funding will help buttress the company's efforts to market Vectra DA. Crescendo, which employs just over 100 people and is based in San Francisco, expects the money will help it add more than 10 new field representatives to its nearly 20-person sales force, which has already been expanded over the last year. In addition, the company will boost its laboratory capacity and continue its manufacturing scale-up, which includes robotics and automation.

Skyline Ventures and Safeguard Scientifics led the latest round, which also included a number of existing investors such as Mohr Davidow Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and aeris Capital AG. Myriad Genetics ($MYGN) is likely particularly happy at the company's new milestones. In 2011, Myriad made a $25 million strategic investment in Crescendo, with an exclusive, three-year option to buy the company. Hagstrom explained to FierceMedicalDevices that certain revenue milestones would trigger such a purchase. Including the new round, Crescendo has raised just under $100 million since its 2003 launch.

As far as Vectra DA, Hagstrom told us the test is now used by over 500 rheumatologists, which represents 15% of the entire field in the U.S. Private insurers are covering the test, which costs under $1,000, and the company is continuing broader reimbursement negotiations with Medicare and other private payers. The test greatly boosts the standard of care, which generally involves a lot of evaluation of signs and symptoms. It measures 12 different immune, endothelial, bone, cartilage and metabolic biomarkers common to rheumatoid arthritis, with concentrations of those telltale signs scored from a scale of 1 to 100, according to the company.

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