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Epic Sciences Closes $40M to Advance Predictive Cancer Tests

Epic Sciences completed last week a $40 million Series D financing led by Hermed Capital. Epic is developing a portfolio of blood-based tests that predict drug response in cancer and recently partnered with Genomic Health to commercialize the OncotypeDx® AR-V7 Nucleus Detect™ test to leverage Genomic Health's commercial channel and enterprise systems.

Altos Capital Partners, Domain Associates, Genomic Health, Pagoda Investment, Reach Tone Limited, RMI Partners, Sabby Capital and VI Ventures also participated in the financing.

Headquartered in San Diego, the company was founded on a powerful platform to identify and characterize rare cells, including circulating tumor cells (CTCs).

"We believe Epic Sciences' OncotypeDx AR-V7 Nucleus Detect test and its robust pipeline of predictive tests in oncology are truly unique in the industry," said Jerry Xiao, Ph.D., managing director of Hermed Capital. "These tests, enabled by Epic's sensitive, scalable and distributable rare cell detection technology, have the potential to revolutionize cancer care globally. We look forward to assisting Epic in exploring the Chinese market and commercializing its CTC platform and No Cell Left Behind® technology."

Epic plans to use the funds to accelerate clinical studies for oncology tests in the company's pipeline as well as enhance its proprietary No Cell Left Behind technology to include characterization of rare leukocyte cell populations with digital imaging and big data analytics. These enhancements are designed to drive insights into the cellular drivers of response or resistance to key drug classes such as immuno-oncology drugs.

"We are extremely pleased to have such a strong and diverse international syndicate that encompasses thought leaders from the venture capital and pharma communities, diagnostic strategics, innovators from the technology space and best in class partners in the Chinese market," said Murali Prahalad, Ph.D., president and CEO of Epic Sciences. "This funding will help advance our mission to provide physicians and patients with the most predictive, precise and personalized information to guide cancer therapy."

Working with its partners, Epic seeks to significantly improve clinical outcomes for patients through the development of novel predictive tests that help physicians provide therapies individualized to a patient's unique tumor biology. Epic has published clinical data in the journals JAMA Oncology and European Urology on the OncotypeDx AR-V7 Nucleus Detect test in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

These data show that patients with detectable levels of AR-V7 positive circulating tumor cells in their blood had significantly better clinical outcomes when treated with taxane chemotherapy than more expensive targeted therapies.

Once this test is commercialized, it will help physicians and patients decide when to proceed with taxane chemotherapy or androgen directed therapeutics. It is estimated that each year, about 50,000 mCRPC patients could benefit from knowing their AR-V7 status prior to selecting further treatment.

"Our strategic collaboration with Epic Sciences allows us to leverage Genomic Health's successful commercial channel to help address a significant unmet need in the management of late-stage prostate cancer," said Frederic Pla, Ph.D., chief business and product development officer, Genomic Health. "Epic Sciences' industry leading CTC-based platform combined with our Oncotype IQ™ Genomic Intelligence Platform will help further our offerings to oncologists and urologists."

Article published by Anna Hill
Image credit by Getty Images, Cultura, Andrew Brookes
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