July 12, 2013

Molecular diagnostics company GeneCentric collects $2.5 million for cancer tests

Using the genetic properties of tumors to classify them more specifically and determine whether they may respond to anti-angiogenic drugs has netted a two-year-old diagnostics firm a .5 million round.

GeneCentric Diagnostics Inc. is now a commercial-stage company, said former LabCorp exec Dr. Myla Lai-Goldman, who is now CEO of GeneCentric and a venture partner with Hatteras Venture Partners. “We plan to use the equity raise to continue our mission of translating important cancer discoveries into clinically adopted diagnostics for pathologists, clinicians, and most importantly, patients,” she said.

Its first product is the Lung Subtype Platform, a diagnostic that stratifies lung cancer patients into subtypes based on genes extracted from a tumor sample. It’s intended to help doctors determine the best therapeutic approaches for patients, which may include newer targeted therapies. LabCorp licensed and developed the first application of LSP, which it now offers through its specialty testing business.

A second platform, a 13-gene hypoxia signature, is under development to identify cancer patients who may respond to anti-angiogenesis inhibitors.

The advent of whole genome sequencing has driven many diagnostics companies to use gene signatures to detect disease. Now molecular diagnostics companies like GeneCentric and Biodesix are going a step further and using gene profiles to give doctors clues about what treatments would be best suited for specific patients.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men and women, and the deadliest among both.

Based in Durham, North Carolina, GeneCentric was established in 2011 with funding from Hatteras and intellectual property from Drs. Neil Hayes’ and Chuck Perou’s laboratories at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UNC School of Medicine.