It’s been a building year for Seer, which spent 2019 working on its proteomics platform. Now, the company is eyeing 2021 for its market launch, banking $55 million in new funding to keep plugging away at its tech and bolster its commercial team and infrastructure.
The series D round comes exactly a year after Seer came out of the shadows with $36 million and a mission to develop early-warning tests for cancer and neurological diseases. It wants to do for proteomics—the study of proteins and their functions—what next-generation sequencing did for genomics.
“In 2007, when next generation sequencing was released by Illumina, it actually became possible to look at the entire genome—not only the segments that you knew were important, but everything. You could do it at scale and speed and consequently, you could look at the entire genome,” Farokhzad told FierceMedTech.
“It’s the same parallel in the proteomic space. Biased proteomics is: ‘I know this set of proteins that are important, so I’ll generate some antibodies and interrogate those proteins I know are important,’” he said.
Seer was founded by Farokhzad and Chief Business Officer and President Philip Ma, along with Robert Langer, an institute professor at MIT who chairs the company’s scientific advisory board.
Its Proteograph platform combines nanotechnology, protein chemistry and machine learning algorithms to profile the tens of thousands of data points gathered from the proteins found in an individual person’s sample. It’s designed to capture this information from many patients simultaneously and analyze the data using artificial intelligence systems.
From there, the technology turns up insights into the progression of diseases at the population level, which are then used to develop blood tests aimed at detecting diseases before symptoms occur. It plans to roll out its first tests for research and clinical use in 2021.