Breakthrough: FoundationOne, launched commercially in the U.S. in June 2012, is designed to evaluate solid tumors and their various mutations and then match a patient to the best possible treatment.
Background: The company impressively launched FoundationOne, just two years after its 2010 debut. The test, a unique mix of genetic sequencing and data gathering, has enormous talent behind it, including researchers from Harvard Medical School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute. And major financial groups have backed the company with nearly $90 million in venture funding, including Google Ventures, Third Rock Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Other strategic investors include LabCorp, Roche Venture Fund and WuXi Corporate Venture Fund.
Significance: The test can identify a substantial number of genetic alterations for 200 cancer-related genes. And the fact that it can match a patient to the best possible treatment is a crucial element in the bid to normalize personalized medicine and make it into an everyday practice. Physicians are paying attention. As of September, more than 400 of them in 16 countries ordered the test since its initial launch.
Next steps: In early January, Foundation Medicine drew the attention of Bill Gates and other investors, who added $13.5 million to a Series B financing round that now surpasses $56 million. That Series B is helping the company to accelerate commercial launch of FoundationOne. Separately, Foundation Medicine in November secured its ninth industry collaboration on cancer genomics, this time with AstraZeneca ($AZN).
Special Report: Foundation Medicine – 2012 FierceBiotech Fierce 15
Foundation Medicine, AstraZeneca ink cancer genomics pact
Foundation Medicine's $42.5 million round to juice Dx commercialization