Bristol-Myers, NEA drive cancer test player to $75M round

The involvement of Bristol-Myers builds on work PGDx has carried out for the Big Pharma.

Bristol-Myers Squibb and New Enterprise Associates (NEA) have co-led a $75 million investment in Personal Genome Diagnostics (PGDx). The series B gives PGDx the means to pursue approvals of its tissue and liquid biopsy IVD cancer tests in markets around the world.

PGDx has rolled out a range of cancer tests since being founded by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in 2010. The portfolio includes tests designed to detect genetic mutations relevant to the treatment of multiple cancer types in tissue, blood or plasma samples. PDGx now wants to secure regulatory clearances for its tissue and liquid biopsies and equip local laboratories to run the tests.

NEA, which led PDGx’s $21 million series A round in 2015, has joined with Bristol-Myers to help make this happen. The co-leads of the series B were joined in the round by a mix of new and existing backers including Inova Strategic Investments, Co-win Healthcare Fund, Windham Venture Partners and Helsinn Investment Fund.

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The involvement of Bristol-Myers builds on work PGDx has carried out for the Big Pharma, which was one of its early customers. PGDx has landed contracts with Bristol-Myers and other drug developers on the strength of its ability to sequence samples and algorithmically analyze the resulting data to glean insights into tumor genetics and treatment options.

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PDGx is equipped to process, sequence and analyze DNA, frozen tissue, liquid biopsies and other samples. But its plan is to globalize and decentralize testing by making regulated IVDs available to laboratories around the world.

“We believe that tailoring therapies to [key genomic drivers of clinical response] is best accomplished by making testing be run by local laboratories,” PGDx CEO Douglas Ward said in a statement. 

PDGx will work toward this goal while expanding its own infrastructure. The Baltimore, Maryland-based company is expanding into a facility close to its current base to triple its overall space. PDGx will fill the additional space with multiple laboratories and workspaces.