CardioDx – 2012 Fierce 15

David Levison, CEO of CardioDx

Based: Palo Alto, CA
Founded: 2004

The Scoop: With Corus CAD, the company's blood-based gene expression test for obstructive coronary artery disease, CardioDx has a product that has wowed physicians, payers and investors.

What Makes It Fierce: CardioDx has been on the up-and-up of late. Since its launch in 2004, the Palo Alto, CA-based molecular diagnostics company has pulled in more than $175 million in venture investment, buoyed by another $58 million round in August. How does a biotech outfit raise that kind of money in a slumping VC climate? CardioDx CEO David Levison says his company took cutting-edge science and matched it with a huge unmet need.

Corus CAD, the company's diagnostic test for obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD), tests the expression of 23 genes in patients, assigning them a 1 to 40 score. The higher the number, the more likely they are to have the ailment. The point: help physicians diagnose patients before prescribing costly imaging procedures that may not be necessary.

And the test, launched in 2009, has succeeded at just that, Levison says. Each year, millions of patients are given noninvasive cardiac imaging after reporting chest pains, and studies have shown that 62% of those who are cathererized don't have the disease to warrant it. "We fit right in there," Levison says. "Our value proposition is that our test should be the gatekeeper to imaging."

Levison isn't alone in that assessment: CardioDx scored a major victory in August, securing Medicare reimbursement for Corus CAD, and the company is optimistic that private insurers will follow suit, opening up an even larger market for the diagnostic.

What To Look For: With all that cash in hand, CardioDx's next move is to expand the adoption of Corus CAD, Levison says. The company has compiled loads of data demonstrating the test's efficacy over the past few years, and now it will make its case to payers. In the long-term, Levison says CardioDx has some ideas on how its technology can be applied to arrhythmia and heart failure.

-- Damian Garde (email | Twitter)

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CardioDx – 2012 Fierce 15