Mercy BioAnalytics, Inc., a pioneer in extracellular vesicle-based liquid biopsies for the early detection of cancer, today announced it has closed a $41 million Series A financing round. The oversubscribed financing was led by Novalis LifeSciences, with participation from Sozo Ventures, Hatteras Venture Partners, iSelect Fund, American Cancer Society BrightEdge, and Broadway Angels, an all-women venture capital group. The round also included strategic investments from Labcorp and Bruker, in addition to strong participation from existing investors.
The company’s novel Mercy Halo™ platform unlocks high clinical sensitivity and specificity through the simultaneous detection of multiple cancer-related biomarkers co-localized on the surface of individual tumor-derived extracellular vesicles. The abundance of extracellular vesicles in circulation enables the Mercy Halo test to be run on a very small volume of serum or plasma with a simple PCR-based read-out.
Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance development and commercialization of the Mercy Halo test for high-risk lung cancer screening, the company’s lead clinical indication. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death globally, with more than 350 Americans dying from lung cancer every day. There are currently more than 14 million Americans recommended for annual lung cancer screening, but less than six percent of those eligible engage in imaging-based screening programs. An easy-to-administer blood test like Mercy Halo could help to address this challenge.
Funds will also be used to advance clinical programs in additional indications, including ovarian cancer, for which 80 percent of cases are diagnosed at Stage III or Stage IV with poor long-term survival. Mercy intends to leverage its Mercy Halo liquid biopsy platform technology to develop a broad portfolio of tests for the early detection of cancer.
“Cancer remains a leading cause of death globally, and liquid biopsy-based screening represents a meaningful opportunity to address barriers that contribute to disparities in early cancer detection, including in medically underserved populations. We believe the Mercy Halo testing platform is uniquely capable of delivering high-performing, broadly accessible cancer screening across all communities. A simple, inexpensive blood-based screening test could be a vital new tool to significantly increase patient engagement in lung cancer screening, creating the opportunity to save lives through early detection,” said Mercy BioAnalytics CEO Dawn Mattoon, PhD. “We are grateful for the support from Novalis, the American Cancer Society BrightEdge and others, and are humbled by their belief in our mission to relieve suffering and save lives through our unique Mercy Halo technology.”
“Liquid biopsy is an important advance in clinical testing that has not yet been fully realized. Mercy is taking a unique approach designed to address the challenges that have plagued early cancer detection liquid biopsy tests that seek to measure tumor-derived DNA,” said Paul Meister, Partner at Novalis LifeSciences, and member of Mercy’s Board of Directors. “We have been impressed with Mercy’s early clinical data, their relentless focus on scientific rigor, and thoughtful approach to commercialization. We are excited to partner with the company to further validate their Mercy Halo test portfolio across the most challenging cancers we face.”
Data presented last year at the annual meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and at the Early Detection of Cancer Conference (EDCC), demonstrated promising preliminary performance for Mercy Halo assays in detecting Stage I and II lung cancer and ovarian cancer. The company is currently planning and executing studies to validate assay performance in larger independent patient cohorts in these and other indications.
Mercy will be presenting additional new data at the upcoming AACR conference in Orlando, Florida this month, and at the upcoming International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) annual meeting in Seattle, Washington in May.
Source – BusinessWire