Crescendo raises $56M, enters pact with Myriad

South San Francisco-based Crescendo Bioscience has raised $56 million as a result of completing a $31 million Series C equity financing round and entering an investment agreement with Myriad Genetics ($MYGN) for $25 million that is accompanied by a three-year option to buy Crescendo. The financing round was led by aeris CAPITAL AG, while existing investors Mohr Davidow Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers also participated.

Crescendo develops molecular diagnostic tests for patients suffering from inflammatory autoimmune disorders. Its initial product, Vectra DA, is the first such test that can determine the level of disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis patients, the company says in a statement. RA affects approximately 1.5 million Americans and more than 2 million people in Europe.

As Xconomy notes, Vectra DA is designed to help determine whether inexpensive drugs like methotrexate can help a patient's disease, or if a more costly treatment like Amgen's ($AMGN) Enbrel or Abbott Laboratories' ($ABT) Humira is needed. The company launched Vectra DA in the U.S. in November 2010.

If Myriad does ends up buying Crescendo, it would add a sixth disease specialty--rheumatology--to its portfolio. The company already focuses on oncology, preventative care, urology, dermatology and neuroscience. "Myriad is committed to investing for future growth," said company President and CEO Pete Meldrum. "As part of this commitment, we have identified Crescendo Bioscience as a franchise with strong potential; one which we believe can transform the management of chronic inflammatory diseases."

- see the Crescendo release
- read Myriad's release
- check out more from Xconomy