Epic Sciences gathers $52M for blood tests that match cancer patients to therapies

Cancer blood test company Epic Sciences brought in $52 million to advance its suite of liquid biopsies, which use computer vision and machine learning to identify circulating tumor cells while characterizing the body’s immune response at the same time, toward regulatory approval.

The platform, dubbed No Cell Left Behind, aims to predict individual patients’ responses to different cancer therapies and combinations, as well as to detect early drug resistance. Epic also plans to use the new funds to help integrate its tests with electronic health records and big data analytics to establish patterns in cancer cell evolution, drug selection and clinical outcomes.

The series E round was led by Blue Ox Healthcare Partners, with participation from Deerfield Management and new partner Varian Medical Systems. Previous investors, including Altos Capital Partners, Genomic Health, Domain Associates, VI Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments and Sabby Management, also returned to back the San Diego-based company.

"We are very excited to work with Epic in this emerging field of personalized medicine,” Renate Parry, Varian’s U.S. senior director of global translational science, said in a statement.

“The collaboration could lead to novel tests for stratifying patients receiving radiation therapy, and guide clinicians in the optimal ways to combine treatments such as immunotherapy and radiotherapy," Parry said.

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“Epic’s revolutionary diagnostics and decision support analytics optimize cancer treatment by ensuring each patient’s unique cancer cells get therapy that offers the highest likelihood of prolonged survival, while avoiding wasteful treatments that the patient’s individual cancer cells do not have the biology to respond to,” said Charles Kennedy, managing partner at Blue Ox, which plans to provide Epic management team support.

Earlier this year, Genomic Health began offering the Oncotype DX AR-V7 Nucleus Detect test, developed by Epic, as a predictive blood test that aims to pinpoint when a patient with castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer needs to switch from targeted therapy to chemotherapy.