Exosome Diagnostics Closes $60M Series B for Liquid Biopsy Test

Xconomy Boston — 

It may have taken a couple of years, but Exosome Diagnostics has finally raised the money it said it wanted to potentially launch its liquid biopsy-based diagnostic test.

Exosome announced today it has closed a $60 million Series B round of funding, money that it is putting toward getting its first oncology products on the market, expanding its diagnostics and regulatory divisions, and funding research into diagnostic tests for more diseases.

It has taken Cambridge, MA-based Exosome almost two years to raise the full Series B amount. The company launched its Series B with a $27 million raise in March 2014, and then added another $17.6 million in September of 2015. With the close of the $60 million total, the company says it has received money from Qiagen, CD Ventures, Monashee Capital, Arcus Ventures, Forbion Capital Partners, NGN Capital, Tiger Management, and Blue Ridge Capital.

While it took Exosome three phases to raise the Series B, it took as many CEOs to get to this point, too. John Boyce, who previously led GnuBIO, a desktop DNA sequencing company, was announced in November as Exosome’s new CEO. He took over for Thomas McLain, who joined Exosome as CEO in August 2014, replacing founding CEO James McCullough. McLain remains on the management team, according to the company’s website, though he doesn’t have a listed title.

When Xconomy spoke with McLain a year ago, gathering more funding was on his mind. The executive said that Exosome intended to raise $25 million on top of the $27 million it had raised in March 2014 to launch its first two products: a blood-based test for lung cancer, and a urine test for prostate cancer.

Companies like Exosome, which offer so-called liquid biopsies, are attempting to replace or eliminate surgical biopsies that can be expensive for the healthcare system and invasive and painful for patients. Biopsies are typically performed to gain a more accurate genetic signature from a tumor sample in order to find treatments that could be specifically tailored to genetic mutations in a tumor.

As Deputy Biotech Editor Ben Fidler detailed last year, Exosome’s tests attempt to do the same thing as biopsies, but without surgery. The technology aims to identify mutations in genetic material carried by exosomes, little vesicles released by cells.

There are plenty of other companies working in the liquid biopsy space to varying extents, including Redwood City, CA-based Guardant Health. The company closed a $100 million Series D round led by OrbiMed Advisors this week.

Exosome is now also considering the possibility that its tools could be used for diagnosing other things, such as neurodegenerative diseases.