Karius raises $165m through Series B funding round

24 February 2020 (Last Updated February 24th, 2020 14:11)

US-based life science company Karius has secured $165m through a Series B funding led by SoftBank Vision Found 2.

Karius raises $165m through Series B funding round
Microbes infecting the human body leave traces of their DNA in blood, called microbial cell-free DNA (mcfDNA). Credit: Gerd Altmann on Pixabay.

US-based life science company Karius has secured $165m through a Series B funding led by SoftBank Vision Found 2.

The funding round has seen participation from HBM Healthcare Investments, General Catalyst, and existing investors LightSpeed Venture Partners and Khosla Ventures.

The company developed microbial cell-free DNA technology that enables non-invasive detection of pathogens throughout the body with its Karius Test.

The test is in use in around 100 hospitals and health systems across the US.

Karius CEO Mickey Kertesz said: “This transformative round will allow Karius to help more patients faster, fuel the next wave of clinical studies, and accelerate technology innovation. We are humbled to be part of the team that delivered the first clinical applications of microbial cell-free DNA and are excited about what’s ahead for Karius.”

Microbes infecting the human body leave traces of their DNA in blood called microbial cell-free DNA (mcfDNA). The Karius Test uses genomics and AI methods to detect and measure the mcfDNA of more than 1,000 clinically relevant pathogens from a single blood draw.

The test provides doctors with information about the likely types and quantities of infectious microorganisms affecting their patients.

Test results are delivered a day after sample receipt, enabling doctors to diagnose and treat their patients better.

SoftBank Investment Advisers senior managing partner Deep Nishar said: “Infectious diseases are the second leading cause of deaths worldwide. Karius’ innovative mcfDNA technology accurately diagnoses infections that cannot be determined by other existing technologies.

“We are excited to support Karius and their mission to use genomic insights to fight infectious diseases and save lives.”

HBM Partners investment advisor Chandra P Leo said: “Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has already transformed diagnostics through non-invasive prenatal testing and liquid biopsies for oncology.

“Karius is now applying the power of NGS of microbial cell-free DNA to the field of infectious disease diagnostics, helping physicians to non-invasively identify a broad range of pathogens in severely ill patients.”