Cofactor Genomics pulls in $18 million with the aim to save lives through RNA research

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Cofactor Genomics has announced an $18 million Series A financing round led by Menlo Ventures, with participation from DCVC, Ascension Ventures, iSelect, Y Combinator, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Stanford.

The startup, formulated by a team of past Human Genome Project scientists, came out of Y Combinator’s Summer 2015 batch to focus on drug discovery through RNA research. RNA takes genomics therapy a step further by focusing on the proteins made from the DNA to determine which drugs will work well in the human body.

“DNA is pre-symptomatic. But with RNA, we think we’ll be able to see a molecular signature sooner,” the company’s CEO Jarret Glasscock told TechCrunch at the time.

Since then, Cofactor Genomics has secured CAP/CLIA accreditation, validated and launched two initial products: Pinnacle, which thumbs through nearly 600 RNA biomarkers associated with good drug response, and Paragon, which is an RNA-based immunophenotyping assay that can be broadly applied to cancer therapy.

“RNA is the unwritten chapter in the book of personalized oncology care,” said Menlo Ventures partner Mark Siegel. “We at Menlo are happy to be supporting the growth of Cofactor and their team with decades of genomics experience as they leverage their powerful technology to write this new chapter.”

Siegel will now join the company board of directors, along with DCVC’s Matt Ocko and Ascension’s John Kuelper.