Epic Sciences, a La Jolla, Calif.-based private biotech company that develops breakthrough cancer diagnostics, completed a $13 million Series B equity financing. This financing includes new investors Domain Associates, Roche Venture Fund and Pfizer Venture Investments, in addition to undisclosed individual investors.
Epic is developing highly sensitive diagnostic tests that molecularly characterize circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood to provide a better way to detect cancer and to monitor and personalize cancer treatments. CTCs are cells that escape from solid tumors, enter the bloodstream where they travel and eventually cause cancer metastasis. Today, solid cancers are first detected by invasive biopsies, which cannot be used repeatedly and are ineffective in understanding metastatic risk, disease progression and treatment effectiveness. A blood test that can accurately detect and profile biomarkers on CTCs can be conducted repeatedly and can give essential, real-time information about disease status to tailor treatments to a patient's specific tumor.
"Epic's technology has achieved an unprecedented level of sensitivity in detecting circulating tumor cells to develop crucial cancer diagnostics for the millions of patients who need to understand whether their treatment is working and the status of their disease," said Dr. Kamdar, partner at Domain Associates, and newly appointed member of Epic’s board of directors. "With deep vertical integration of expertise in engineering, computation, pathology and oncology, we see that Epic's technology will not only have a major impact on clinical cancer treatments but also on the development of new cancer therapeutics and companion diagnostics."
With the proceeds from the financing, Epic will expand R&D operations and capabilities to commercialize the company's CTC platform, the basis of which has been exclusively licensed from Dr. Peter Kuhn's laboratory at The Scripps Research Institute. Epic is currently working with seven pharmaceutical partners to create companion diagnostic products for oncology drug candidates. The partnerships include a number of phase I and II clinical trials ultimately involving more than 1,500 patients. With these collaborations, Epic is developing a strong and diverse pipeline of companion diagnostic products.