Sequenta raises $20M for cancer diagnostics

Bay Area diagnostics outfit Sequenta has snagged another $20 million in venture cash, money the company will use to expand the sales and clinical validation of its sequencing-based cancer test.

Foresite Capital Management led the latest round, joined by all of Sequenta's previous investors, pitching in to help the company market the ClonoSIGHT test, which launched in February.

The diagnostic uses DNA sequencing to detect leukemia or lymphoma cells in patients' blood, finding cancer recurrence much faster than with radiation-based imaging, Foresite Managing Director Jim Tananbaum said.

"Instead of searching for a needle in a haystack, we can find the needle precisely by using molecular markers," Tananbaum said in a statement. "We are delighted to support this extraordinary team who has developed a real product that will make a meaningful difference for cancer patients."

The test works on Sequenta's LymphoSIGHT platform, assaying small amounts of blood or marrow to detect minimal residual disease, all with a 7-day turnaround time from the company's CLIA-certified San Francisco lab. 

ClonoSIGHT offers unprecedented sensitivity in identifying leukemia and lymphoma cells, Sequenta CEO Tom Willis said, and the latest cash should help his company become the market leader in sequencing-based residual cancer diagnostics.

Sequenta has raised $30 million to date, backed by investors including Index Ventures and Mohr Davidow.

- read the company's release