Epic Sciences nabs $13M for cancer diagnostics

Epic Sciences is developing molecular diagnostics to detect cancer through a blood test, and the company has pulled down $13 million in Series B financing to advance its research.

Epic's in-development tests are designed to identify circulating tumor cells in the blood, detecting the cells that escape from solid tumors and can eventually lead to metastasis. Epic plans to use the funding to expand its R&D operations and commercialize its diagnostic platform.

The company is looking to pair its cancer diagnostics with oncology drug candidates, and it has thus far signed on with 7 partners, including "two of the top four pharmaceutical companies worldwide," Epic said. Probably not coincidentally, among the investors in this round are Roche Venture Fund and Pfizer Venture Investments, and Epic earlier hinted at a partnership with Celgene ($CELG).

The two drugmakers are joined by VC outfit Domain Associates in the funding round, and Domain's Kim Kamdar will join Epic's board. 

"Our top-tier group of venture investors has exceptional knowledge and capabilities in oncology diagnostic development and personalized medicine," Epic CEO David Nelson said in a statement. "They will be very valuable in accelerating our diagnostic products through commercialization to ensure the best outcomes for patients."

Epic says its existing companion diagnostics partnerships are progressing right along, with some already in Phase I and II trials enrolling about 1,500 patients. With the extra cash in hand, Epic can accelerate the commercialization of its platform, licensed from the Scripps Research Institute, and nail down more partnerships with drugmakers developing targeted cancer therapies, Nelson said.

- read Epic's release