Thrive Earlier Detection Corp., a company dedicated to incorporating earlier cancer detection into routine medical care, launched with $110 million in a Series A financing. Thrive will further advance and commercialize CancerSEEK, a liquid biopsy test designed to detect multiple cancer types at earlier stages of disease. CancerSEEK has been developed by cancer research pioneers Drs. Bert Vogelstein, Kenneth Kinzler and Nickolas Papadopoulos at Johns Hopkins University.
CancerSEEK combines analysis of a highly targeted set of DNA and protein measurements from blood to detect cancer, demonstrating greater than 99% specificity in a retrospective study published in Science. Minimizing the “false-positive” results common in today’s early cancer screening tools enables physicians to focus follow-up procedures on patients who truly have cancer and for whom the doctor can take treatment action. Thrive plans to integrate real-world data and machine learning to continue to improve CancerSEEK over time and to create a costeffective comprehensive care solution for primary care physicians.
“Over the past 30 years we have made great strides in understanding cancer. Combining this knowledge with the latest in molecular testing technologies, our founders have developed a simple and affordable blood test for the detection of many cancers at relatively early stages,” said Christoph Lengauer, Ph.D., partner at Third Rock Ventures, and co-founder and chief innovation officer of Thrive. “We envision a future where routine preventative care includes a blood test for cancer, just as patients are now routinely tested for early stages of heart disease. We know that if cancer is caught early enough, it can often be cured.”
CancerSEEK is currently being evaluated in DETECT, a prospective study in 10,000 healthy individuals underway in collaboration with Geisinger, to better understand test performance and the implementation of its findings into patient care. Thrive intends to conduct additional clinical studies to generate evidence to support regulatory approvals, inclusion in cancer screening guidelines and broad reimbursement.
CancerSEEK has received Breakthrough Device designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the detection of genetic mutations and proteins associated with pancreatic and ovarian cancers, two of the most deadly cancer types.
“To be truly useful to patients, new medical technology must be developed with rigorous evidence and designed to be affordable and readily integrated into routine medical care,” said Steven J. Kafka, Ph.D., partner at Third Rock Ventures and chief executive officer of Thrive. “With the help of experts and strategic partners, Thrive is launching today to advance a novel test for the earlier detection of multiple cancers, which we aim to augment with an integrated service that helps patients maneuver the often confusing path that follows a cancer diagnosis.”
Third Rock Ventures led the Series A financing, with participation from Section 32, Casdin Capital, Biomatics Capital, BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, Invus, Exact Sciences, Cowin Venture, Camden Partners, Gamma 3 LLC and others.