Cancer test firm Freenome raises $254 million in fresh funding

By Thomson Reuters Feb 15, 2024 | 5:03 AM

By Sriparna Roy

(Reuters) – Blood test developer Freenome said on Thursday it has raised $254 million in a new funding round led by Swiss drugmaker Roche, to develop tests that can potentially detect multiple early-stage cancers.

The company did not disclose the valuation at which the funds were raised.

Freenome is currently developing screening tests focused on colorectal and lung cancers, with two registration studies in progress.

A study evaluating the blood-based screening test in adults at average risk for colorectal cancer has enrolled over 40,000 participants. The privately held company expects to present results from the study in the first half of this year.

The company is also enrolling up to 20,000 participants for a trial evaluating its test for the early detection of lung cancer in current and former smokers aged over 50, who are eligible to undergo a screening known as Low-Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT).

Roche was joined by ARK Investments, Bain Capital Life Sciences and lab operator Quest Diagnostics, among others. Squarepoint Capital, along with funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, also participated as investors in the round.

“Those strategic investors, Roche in particular, they all bring various set of not only expertise, but opportunities for potential collaboration, given the therapeutic areas of interest,” said Riley Ennis, co-founder of Freenome.

Roche invested $290 million in the company in January 2022.

Freenome is also developing tests that can potentially detect multiple cancers, tailoring the screening that is relevant to each individual to assess their risk.

It uses a multiomics platform, combining tumor and non-tumor signals with machine learning to detect cancer in its earliest stages using a standard blood draw.

(Reporting by Sriparna Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil)