UPDATED: Cynvenio Biosystems ropes in $25M for liquid biopsy technology

Cynvenio CEO André de Fusco

California diagnostics outfit Cynvenio Biosystems reeled in $25.5 million in Series B financing to support development of its liquid biopsy technology, critical funding as the company looks to generate growth at home and abroad.

China's Livzon Pharmaceutical led the round, with other investors including Greenwoods Private Equity Funds and Syno Capital contributing funds. Proceeds will be used to expand production for hardware, software and reagents and Cynvenio's clinical utility work with outside cancer research centers, CEO André de Fusco told FierceDiagnostics. The company's liquid biopsy technology screens blood samples for circulating tumor cell DNA, circulating tumor DNA and germline DNA, using next-generation sequencing and PCR to provide readouts to customers.

"This is the year of liquid biopsy," de Fusco said. "We've been at it four to 5 years. The first phase is over and everyone is trying to look at it. We're a pioneer there, and we have big plans for the year to come."

In addition to the latest investment, Cynvenio will funnel $10 million in funding toward a China-based joint venture with Livzon Pharmaceutical, lending its technology to Chinese hospitals and research institutions. The company plans to set up 25 centers to sequence DNA and RNA from patient samples, aiming toward Chinese regulatory approval for its products."We will probably process initially our breast cancer test, ClearID, running 200 to 300 patient samples in China under the direction of Chinese physicians. That data would be submitted for regulatory approval in the country," de Fusco said.

The new funding bodes well for Los Angeles, CA-based Cynvenio as it ramps up R&D for its liquid biopsy technology. In December 2013, the company struck a multiyear deal with San Francisco data analytics company CollabRx to personalize cancer testing, combining CollabRx's data analytics services with its breast cancer blood test to quickly match patients with appropriate treatments.

Cynvenio is also planning to dial up its partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific ($TMO), expanding the companies' commerical relationship to offer a full solution to customers in worldwide markets, de Fusco said. The company will work with Thermo Fisher in China as part of its recently announced joint venture, and also plans to target Europe and other parts of the world through the collaboration, he added.

But Cynvenio is not the only company looking to gain ground in personalized cancer testing. Many diagnostic outfits have their eye on the rapidly evolving market, raising funds and teaming up with other companies to bolster their presence in the field. In February, Guardant Health reeled in $50 million in Series C financing to ramp up commercialization for Guardant360, a noninvasive test that pinpoints tumor genomic alterations in real time. In March, cancer diagnostics startup Helomics said it would lend its tumor profiling technology to a U.K. genomics initiative to uncover new biomarkers and develop advanced tests for cancer.

- read Cynvenio's statement
- here's their SEC filing

Special Report: Five companies to watch in the liquid biopsy field

Editor's Note: This story was updated with comments from Cynvenio CEO André de Fusco.

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