Exact Sciences denies talks underway to invest in Israeli cancer Dx startup

In the med tech world, there are always rumors about who might be investing in whom. But there are rumors, and then there are rumors. Today, Exact Sciences ($EXAS) denied that it is in talks to put $30 million into Israeli cancer diagnostics startup Savicell. What's more, Exact said it had never even heard of Savicell until Israel's Globes business newspaper published a report concerning alleged discussions between the two. Savicell has subsequently discounted the report as well.

"Exact Sciences categorically denies the report in the Globes regarding a potential acquisition of Savicell Diagnostics. Until this article was brought to our attention today, we had never even been aware of this company, let alone been involved in a business dialogue. The report is totally false nor were we consulted by the reporter who wrote the article," the spokesperson told FierceDiagnostics.

Giora Davidovits, Savicell's president and CEO, responded to FierceDiagnostics by email noting that his company denied the rumor to Globes, and that the denial was included in only the Hebrew version of its article.

Globes reported, based on anonymous sources, that Savicell is seeking the investment from Exact, and that discussions between the two companies are ongoing. The article also stated that both companies have discussed a potential Savicell acquisition.

Savicell, which launched in 2007, is trying to advance its molecular diagnostics blood test designed for early cancer detection. According to the story, the company has already tested its technology on several hundred people. It displayed promise in its ability to determine the immune system response to cancer cells and healthy cells, using blood samples. This is all early stage, of course, and Savicell envisions using it for different types of cancer.

While a number of companies are developing tests that would spot cancer earlier, Savicell claims its technology could spot the disease even sooner through its isolation of immune response instead of substances that tumor cells excrete, the story notes.

Exact, which is based in Madison, WI, raised $73.4 million in a stock offering in June to help support the rollout of Cologuard, its DNA-based stool screening test for colorectal cancer. The molecular diagnostics company completed and submitted the final part of its FDA premarketing approval application for the test over the summer.

- read the full Globes story

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Savicell's denial of the Globes funding rumor.

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