Guardant Health, a California biotechnology company that is developing a tool to potentially detect cancer has won a round of investment worth $360 million. The company aims to utilize the funding to deploy its test in 1 million people over next five years.
The round of funding was led by the Japanese Telecom giant SoftBank and also includes the participation from Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures, 8VC, OrbiMed, certain funds managed by T. Rowe Price and Temasek.
Guardant Health was founded in 2013 and since then the company has been developing the screening tool that relies on blood samples for cancer detection. The Guardant test tool which they call “Guardant 360” is designed to help patients not opt risky and high-cost biopsies. The genomic tests help patients having cancer pair with the necessary therapies and the emerging new drugs for the treatment.
Also, last January, Guardant had raised $190 million which includes a $100 million round from Series D. The company has planned to utilize the latest cash injection in sequencing the tumor DNA of more than one million cancer patients in next five years. With the data, Guardant says it expects to fuel fundamental advancements in cancer care.
Guardant Health co-founder and CEO, Hemly Eltoukhy, explains that eliminating cancer is a big data problem. The launch of their first commercial liquid biopsy lightened a spark in data acquisition for cancer. With the five year mission, they intend to accelerate the progress rate and providing a huge infusion of the required data in the field.
According to World Health Organization, cancer is the second leading disease responsible for the majority of the deaths globally. Around 1 in 6 deaths occur due to cancer, estimates WHO. But the disease may not spread around the body and may get cured if diagnosed at an early stage. Early detection of such fatal diseases is very significant. And this is the reason that Guardant and other such health firms are attracting a huge amount of VC investment. Guardant is attempting to battle against the disease that has a destructive impact on human life.
The firms working on health tech is drawing huge fundings from the big-name investors. Google Ventures, Alphabet’s investment arm has led the funding rounds in many life science organizations. The latest investment by Google Ventures went to SpyBiotech, an Oxford University initiative working on next generation vaccines development. Also, a startup Science 37 working on bringing clinical trials to home bagged $29 million investment from GV. The Singapore-based investment firm Temasek, who invested in Guardant, also recently led $800 million investment round in Verily Life Sciences.
Apart from Guardant, there are many other start-ups working on early cancer detection. All these firms are attracting huge funding for cancer now needs dedicated output for early stage detection. Grail, Illumina spin-out, raised $900 million investment from Amazon and drugmakers. Freenome also won $65 million in series A round for its efforts to build blood tests that detect cancer.