Singapore-based genomic medicine company Lucence Diagnostics has raised $20m in a Series A funding round to commercialise its liquid biopsy technology.
Malaysia-based private healthcare group IHH Healthcare led the funding round, which was also joined by Temasek’s subsidiary Heliconia Capital, SGInnovate, Lim Kaling and Koh Boon Hwee, among others.
The cancer screening firm intends to use the proceeds to bring its liquid biopsy technology to more patients across Asia and North America.
The funds will also be used by the company to carry out prospective clinical trials to determine the sensitivity of the technology, as well as to evaluate its potential for early detection of multiple cancers.
In 2016, Lucence spun out from Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research, a unit under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star).
Last year, the company introduced its next-generation sequencing test LiquidHALLMARK, a blood test used on over 1,000 patients in Asia so far.
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Claimed to be the first and only clinical sequencing blood test, LiquidHALLMARK detects both cancer-related gene mutations and cancer-causing viruses within a single assay.
LiquidHALLMARK, based on Lucencese’s AmpliMARK technology, can detect clinically relevant mutations across 14 cancer types, including lung, breast, colorectal, pancreatic, nasopharyngeal and liver cancers.
In September, Lucence’s Singapore laboratory became the first in South-east Asia to be CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited. These accreditations will help the company to commercialise its test in the US.
Lucence founder and CEO Min-Han Tan said: “Our research discoveries, such as the identification of the circulating tumour-endothelial cluster, can transform the liquid biopsy field, allowing better non-invasive cancer screening and profiling for patients.
“This partnership with IHH Healthcare will accelerate our work to achieve early cancer detection and effective cures and expand access to this much-needed liquid biopsy technology to patients across Asia and the United States.”
IHH Healthcare CEO Kelvin Loh said: “Our investment in Lucence will provide IHH patients with better access to this advanced technology. IHH looks to drive greater synergies with Lucence and co-develop solutions for patients, as well as explore opportunities to sharpen our precision medicine capabilities with other like-minded partners across our 10-country network.”