Epic Sciences Announces Completion of $52 Million Series E Financing
Proceeds will be used to advance liquid biopsy tests to predict drug response in cancer patients and to integrate company’s No Cell Left Behind platform with electronic medical records and big data analytics
Epic Sciences (Epic) announced today that the company has completed a $52 million Series E financing led by Blue Ox Healthcare Partners, with participation by Deerfield Management and Varian (NYSE: VAR). Existing investors, including Altos Capital Partners, Genomic Health, Inc., Domain Associates, VI Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, and Sabby Management, also participated in the financing.
“We are extremely pleased to have such a strong and diverse syndicate with leaders from the private payer industry, diagnostic strategics, innovators from the technology space, and best-in-class healthcare crossover investors,” said Murali Prahalad, Ph.D., president and CEO of Epic Sciences. “Each brings an expansive vision for how Epic can build upon its position as a uniquely disruptive company in the revolution of cancer care.”
With the proceeds from the financing, Epic will advance a portfolio of predictive tests and decision support analytics that can guide clinicians and patients toward the ideal cancer drugs to prolong life and minimize spend on ineffective therapies. The tests are developed with the company’s proprietary technology platform called No Cell Left Behind®, which uses computer vision and machine learning algorithms to identify rare cancer cells in the blood and characterize immune response simultaneously.
“Epic Sciences is transforming late-stage cancer treatment by developing important predictive tests that prolong life and reduce the use of ineffective treatments, and thus healthcare costs,” said Charles D. Kennedy, MD, managing partner at Blue Ox Healthcare Partners. “We believe the company’s model closely aligns with healthcare’s move towards individuality and value-based care as well as Blue Ox’s investment strategy. We look forward to applying our deep strategic, operational, and healthcare industry expertise to assist Epic in achieving its clinical and commercial goals.”
By understanding how populations of cancer and immune cells change under the selective pressure of different drug classes, Epic is uniquely positioned to predict which singular or combination therapies will likely be effective. Predicting optimal, individualized drug therapies creates value throughout the healthcare system, as practicing physicians can create better outcomes for their patients. Payers benefit through reductions in ineffective treatment costs, while pharmaceutical firms can optimize clinical trial performance through better speed, effectiveness, and cost.
“Epic’s unique and disruptive rare cell detection platform and No Cell Left Behind technology generates transformative insights into single cell biology, clonal evolution in cancer, and immune response,” agreed Andrew ElBardissi, M.D., MPH, MBA, principal at Deerfield Management. “Tests made on Epic’s platform have the potential to revolutionize translational research, drug development, and patient care. We look forward to partnering with Epic during this exciting phase of its growth and diversification.”
“We are very excited to work with Epic in this emerging field of personalized medicine. The collaboration could lead to novel tests for stratifying patients receiving radiation therapy, and guide clinicians in the optimal ways to combine treatments such as immunotherapy and radiotherapy,” added Renate Parry, Ph.D., US Senior Director, Global Translational Science at Varian.
With more than 20 publications, 65 pharma partners, and 45 academic collaborators, Epic has demonstrated how these insights can aid in the characterization of therapeutic response and the early detection of drug resistance. The company also plans to take its platform through the appropriate regulatory approvals and use big data analytics to integrate test results with electronic medical records, establishing patterns of cancer cell evolution, drug selection, and clinical outcomes.
Earlier this year, the Oncotype DX® AR-V7 Nucleus Detect™ test was launched as the world’s first predictive blood test that extends life by indicating when a patient with castration resistant metastatic prostate cancer needs to switch from targeted therapy to chemotherapy. Developed by Epic Sciences, the Oncotype DX AR-V7 Nucleus Detect test is offered exclusively by Genomic Health (NASDAQ: GHDX) and is commercially available in the United States.
About Blue Ox Healthcare Partners
Blue Ox Healthcare Partners, LLC is a private equity investment firm focused on providing capital to growth stage healthcare companies targeting the industry’s transformation to individuality and value-based care. Blue Ox targets emerging companies in the middle market with commercial products and solutions in healthcare services, HCIT, and medical and life sciences technologies, whose innovations, strategies and operations are poised for growth. The Firm invests in companies where it believes its team’s operational expertise and deep healthcare industry experience can be leveraged to a company’s long-term benefit. For additional information, please visit www.blueoxhcp.com.
About Deerfield Management
Deerfield Management is an investment management firm committed to advancing healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy. For more information, please visit www.deerfield.com.
Varian is a leader in developing and delivering cancer care solutions and is focused on creating a world without fear of cancer. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Varian employs approximately 6,500 people around the world. For more information, visit www.varian.com and follow @VarianMedSys on Twitter.
About Epic Sciences
Epic Sciences, Inc. is developing novel diagnostics to personalize and advance the treatment and management of cancer. Epic Sciences' mission is to enable the rapid and non-invasive detection of genetic and molecular changes in cancer throughout a patient's journey. The company was founded on a powerful platform to identify and characterize rare cells, including circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Epic Sciences' No Cell Left Behind® technology helps match patients to targeted therapies and monitor for drug resistance, so that the best treatment path can be chosen at every clinical decision point. Today, we partner with leading pharmaceutical companies and major cancer centers around the world. Epic Sciences' goal is to commercialize our technology to increase the success rate of cancer drugs in clinical trials and improve patient outcomes by providing physicians real-time information to guide treatment choices. Epic Sciences is headquartered in San Diego.
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