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Baltimore firm raises $110 million to bring Johns Hopkins' cancer-detecting blood test to market

The Baltimore Sun

May 30, 2019


A newly formed Baltimore company has raised $110 million to develop and commercialize a cancer-detecting blood test, created by Johns Hopkins researchers, that doctors would give patients during routine physicals.

Thrive Earlier Detection Corp. plans to commercialize the CancerSEEK test, officials at the Johns Hopkins University said Thursday. The liquid biopsy blood test aims to detect cancer at earlier stages, when it is easier to treat. It’s designed to detect multiple cancer types, including pancreatic and ovarian cancers, two of the deadliest types.

Funding raised by the medical firm represents the largest-ever Series A, or early round, investment in a Hopkins technology by a licensee in Hopkins’ history, the university said. Johns Hopkins exclusively licensed CancerSEEK to Thrive Earlier Detection.

“This is a giant leap forward in my 30-year-old dream of being able to offer cancer tests basically the same way that cholesterol tests are offered when people visit their physician every year,” said Dr. Bert Vogelstein, the Clayton Professor of Oncology at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, who helped develop the test.

The test, which analyzes a highly targeted set of DNA and protein measurements from blood, could be used by primary care doctors to diagnose some cancers earlier.

“Over the past 30 years we have made great strides in understanding cancer,” Christoph Lengauer, co-founder and chief innovation officer of Thrive Earlier Detection and a partner at Third Rock Ventures, said in an announcement. “Combining this knowledge with the latest in molecular testing technologies, our founders have developed a simple and affordable blood test for the detection of many cancers at relatively early stages.”