Guardant Health announced today that it has raised $50 million in Series C funding for its biopsy-free blood cancer screening test Guardant360. This puts the total funding for the medical technology startup at $90 million. Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round, with participation from Formation 8 and existing investors Khosla Ventures and Sequoia Capital.
The startup launched Guardant360, its first commercially available blood cancer screening product, about a year ago. This is a biopsy-free test built on proprietary DNA sequencing that the company says gives doctors a better picture of the genomic mutations within cancerous cells.
Doctors traditionally take a biopsy and send it to the lab for processing, which takes time time. Meanwhile, cancerous cells mutate and become resistant to the treatment, making it harder for doctors to know if a treatment is actually going to be effective. Guardant360 works by pulling out fragments of tumor DNA that get into the blood stream and then sequencing the genome of that tumor to match it with the right therapy.
Guardant360 is the first product on the market to test for breast, lung, skin, colorectal or prostate cancer in real time using a blood instead of a biopsy procedure.
The global cancer detection market is a lucrative one. It’s expected to reach nearly $169 billion USD by 2020. Illumina, Sequenom, and Foundation Medicine have all mentioned plans for developing similar blood cancer tests. According to Guardant Health, only 30 percent of the oncologist market has access to high-tech solutions.
The startup plans to use the new funding to both grow the company and get its product into more of these doctors’ clinics. “With this new funding, we can scale our operations to meet the significant demand for our biopsy-free blood test and help physicians identify effective treatments for their patients,” said Guardant Health CEO Helmy Eltoukhy.