According to Asaf Zviran, co-founder and CEO of the company, cancer research company C2i Genomics is developing a platform that enables sequencing of the entire genome with just 2 milliliters of blood and cancer detection that is 100 times more sensitive than the competition.
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On Thursday, the New York-based company announced a $ 100 million convertible bond to accelerate clinical development and commercialization of its platform. Behind the note is a group of investors including Casdin Capital, NFX, the Duquesne Family Office, Section 32, iGlobe Partners and Driehaus Capital. Additional funding came from the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research, Silver Lake, Alexandria Real Estate, Gordon Asset Management, and LionBird.
How it works
C2i’s cancer diagnosis service uses artificial intelligence pattern recognition and whole genome analysis to detect traces of cancer much faster in about a week, make better treatment decisions and ultimately save lives. The company aims to help patients avoid unnecessary over-treatment with toxic chemotherapy or radiation and prevent them from going without treatment while cancer quietly grows and metastasizes.
This is important for Zviran, who survived cancer and helped family members with their cancer diagnoses and treatments. He was previously diagnosed with cancer at the age of 28 in the defense sector in Israel.
“After I had surgery, I spent most of the time talking to oncologists to understand how treatment optimization works and how they lack the tools to do it effectively,” said Zvrian. “I went back to school and got my PhD. in genomics, focusing on how to use blood samples to monitor cancer. “
He developed the technology for the origins of C2i Genomics for three years before getting to the point where he believed he could start the company in late 2019.
With that notice, the company has raised a total of $ 113.2 million in venture capital, including a Series A round in 2020 worth $ 12 million, according to Crunchbase data.
“It was a quick fundraiser that started in January,” said Zvrian. “We looked at equity initially, but given the rapid growth of the company, the market, and the commercialization potential, decided it was better to take a note to give us flexibility for the next fundraiser. We received a lot of interest, but it was important to choose the right partners. “
James Currier, General Partner at NFX, feels the same way. He got to know C2i Genomics through his colleague, the head of Bio Omri Amirav-Drory at NFX. The seed investor came for C2is Seed in August 2019 and stayed for its Serie A and grade.
According to Currier, C2i was able to conduct clinical studies with six institutions around the world and use data to prove its technology.
“The technology, AI, and software that created them are more sensitive and accurate than others on the market,” he added. “It’s time to speed up testing and approvals. You currently have six studies, but there are other institutions that want to be seven, eight, and nine. To staff these CLIA labs, they need cash. “
Meanwhile, Zvrian intends to move quickly from technology development and validation to scale-up commercialization with closed notice. The funds will be used for research and development to add staff and bring technology to the clinic. The company also plans to launch its diagnostic indication in the US and Europe.
C2i has a CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) laboratory in Massachusetts and a research and development center in Israel. The CLIA lab was the result of C2i’s acquisition of QNA Dx in March, Zvrian said.
“We’re working on better detection,” he added. “We have almost 40 employees and plan to double that number by the end of the year. Our solution is very new to the market and with an improvement in performance we can perform clinical applications that have not been done before. In a cloud environment, any clinical laboratory can use this for detection and monitoring. “
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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