Johns Hopkins-led liquid biopsy startup launches with $110M: 5 things to know

Thrive Earlier Detection, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup developing a blood test to identify multiple early-stage cancers, announced its official launch on May 30 with $110 million in Series A financing.

Here are five things to know:

1. Thrive's CancerSEEK liquid biopsy test was developed by cancer researchers at Johns Hopkins University, which is exclusively licensing the technology to Thrive.

2. CancerSEEK uses DNA sequencing and other technologies to measure DNA and protein in a blood sample to detect several types of early-stage cancer, many of which currently have no available screening tests. Machine learning analysis is then used to narrow down the location of the detected tumor.

3. The technology's accuracy was demonstrated in a retrospective study published in Science in 2018, in which CancerSEEK detected various types of cancer with up to 98 percent specificity and almost no false positives. It is now being used in a prospective study of 10,000 healthy patients, with other clinical studies in development.

4. CancerSEEK has received "Breakthrough Device" status from the FDA for the detection of pancreatic and ovarian cancers, allowing for an expedited approval process once further studies have been conducted.

5. The funding round was led by Third Rock Ventures, with Section 32, Casdin Capital, Biomatics Capital, BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, Invus and Exact Sciences among the additional participants.

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