Pharma giant Bristol-Myers Squibb is the newest investor in the genomic testing company.
An October filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission indicated that Personal Genome Diagnostics (PGDx), the Baltimore-based genetic testing firm, was conducting a funding round in which it had raised over $65 million.
That round is now officially closed, according to today’s announcement that the company had raised a total of $75 million in Series B financing. Pharma heavyweight Bristol-Myers Squibb is the company’s newest investor, joining a list that includes New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and a host of venture capital and healthcare investment funds.
PGDx specializes in oncology-focused genomics and precision medicine. It says the new funding will advance its efforts to develop in vitro diagnostic (IVD) genome testing to cancer patients, particularly as it pertains to regulation.
“Proceeds from this financing will support our product development strategy designed to secure global regulatory approvals of tissue and liquid biopsy-based IVD cancer tests,” PGDx CEO Douglas Ward said in a statement. “We aim to achieve this is by providing regulated IVD tests that can also build the commercial engine to deliver our tests to clinical laboratories worldwide."
Paul Biondi, senior vice president and head of business development at Bristol-Myers Squibb, called PGDx “a pioneer in cancer genome testing” and said that the pharmaceutical maker was “excited to become a strategic investor as they broaden their focus to develop and market IVD tests and seek to make tumor profiling more accessible to patients."
The company has been receiving significant outside attention and investment in recent years. In November, it expanded its contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to make its testing more available to US military veterans.
The relationship began in 2015, when the VA’s New England Veteran’s Integrated Service Network piloted its Precision Oncology Program (POP) and selected PGDx as the initial provider of targeted DNA profiling. POP became nationwide in 2016. In March, the VA adopted the company’s updated CancerSELECT 125 pan-cancer profiling tool, followed by a decision in June to offer its PlasmaSELECT 64 liquid biopsy assay.
The newly-closed funding round brings the company’s total investment to just under $100 million. It was founded with $100,000 worth of seed funding in 2010 by researchers from Johns Hopkins University.
"PGDx was established to further our founders' work at the forefront of uncovering the key genomic drivers of clinical response,” Ward said. “We believe that tailoring therapies to these drivers of response is best accomplished by making testing be run by local laboratories.”
Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ward added, was one of PGDx’s earliest pharmaceutical costumers, and he praised the pharma maker’s commitment to translational medicine in oncology.