Grail, the cancer detection start-up backed by tech giants Alphabet as well as also Amazon, will be already seeking fresh funding, mere months after the idea closed a $900 million round in March. The company had previously raised $100 million in 2016.
Grail will be primarily pitching sovereign funds, with mixed success, according to two sources familiar. the idea has approached Softbank as well as also Mubadala, Abu Dhabi’s $125 billion sovereign fund, according to one of the people.
The start-up will be primarily planning to use the funds for its massive breast cancer trial in which the idea announced in April of This specific year. in which study involves analyzing the blood of 0,000 women in many different locations.
yet the company has also had some various other expenses in which may be pushing the idea back to the fund-raising market.
Grail announced in March in which some of the proceeds coming from its financing could be used to buy a large portion of its shares coming from parent company Illumina, reducing Illumina’s ownership to a minority stake. The aggregate purchase cost was $278 million, according to a public filing.
the idea also shelled out more than $100 million to merge having a Chinese company called Cirina, according to one of the sources. Cirina will be developing an early-stage commercial test for a type of cancer called nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Additional funds were earmarked for another expensive clinical study, its Circulating Cell-Free Genome Atlas Study (CCGA), which involves enrolling 10,000 participants. This specific study will be meant to give Grail a more detailed map of cancer genetics.
The company declined to comment on its financing plans, yet said “we are always in touch with the capital markets.”
Meanwhile, the company has seen multiple senior leaders depart in recent months, including former CEO Jeff Huber, formerly of Google; data scientist Franz Och; as well as also former head of clinical development Mark Lee. These departures were previously reported by Buzzfeed. Business development lead Elaine Cheung also departed recently, according to her LinkedIn profile.
When Grail burst onto the scene in 2016, the idea announced an ambitious objective to have its first test on the market within three years.
The idea behind such early-detection tests, which are in development by Grail as well as also its chief competitors Guardant Health as well as also Freenome, will be to catch cancer early by picking up signals of free-floating tumor DNA inside bloodstream. The wish will be in which at in which point, the idea could be easier as well as also cheaper to treat.
The biggest challenges to get these tests to market include cost — the tests might be too expensive to get covered by insurers — as well as also high rates of both false positives as well as also negatives. For in which reasons, these companies need to invest heavily on clinical studies.