Singapore-based genomic medicine firm Lucence announced today the close of a US$20 million Series A funding round.
The round was led by IHH Healthcare, one of the world’s largest integrated private healthcare groups.
Others that participated in the round include SGInnovate and existing investors like Temasek Holdings subsidiary Heliconia Capital, Lim Kaling, and Koh Boon Hwee.
Headquartered in Singapore with offices in San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Suzhou, Lucence was founded in 2016 by Dr. Min-Han Tan, who, prior to starting up, was working at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) as a lead at the Laboratory of Systems Medicine and focused on building better genomic technology for cancer patients.
During his time at A*STAR, Dr. Tan and his team “made key discoveries on the nature of circulating tumor DNA and circulating tumor cells by applying innovative laboratory and machine-learning technologies”.
This research eventually led to improved non-invasive screening and profiling of cancer using blood testing.
Lucence was then founded with a vision to create “a world without avoidable cancer deaths through early cancer detection and better treatment selection”.
In 2018, the company introduced its flagship next-generation sequencing test, LiquidHALLMARK®, which is said to be the first and only clinical sequencing blood test that detects both cancer-related gene mutations and cancer-causing viruses within a single assay.
It can detect clinically relevant mutations across 14 cancer types including lung, breast, colorectal, pancreatic, nasopharyngeal, and liver cancers.
It has since been used by oncologists in cancer diagnosis, monitoring and treatment selection for over 1,000 patients in Asia.
The funding will be used by Lucence to provide its liquid biopsy technology to more patients across Asia and North America, and will also enable the firm to “embark on new prospective clinical studies to evaluate its technology for the early detection of multiple cancers”.
Said Dr. Tan on the funding: “This partnership with IHH Healthcare will accelerate our work to achieve early cancer detection and effective cures, and expand access to this much-needed liquid biopsy technology to patients across Asia and the United States.”
Added Dr. Kelvin Loh, Chief Executive Officer (Designate) of IHH Healthcare: “Liquid biopsy is a game-changer in our endeavor to provide cancer patients with better, value-driven outcomes through precise treatment selections and more affordable care. Our investment in Lucence will provide IHH patients with better access to this advanced technology.”
“IHH looks to drive greater synergies with Lucence and co-develop solutions for patients, as well as explore opportunities to sharpen our precision medicine capabilities with other like-minded partners across our 10-country network.”