Whole-genome analysis company Variantyx gets $41.5M for precision oncology solutions

Precision medicine company Variantyx pulled in $41.5 million for its advanced genomic testing platform, with plans to target growth in precision oncology.

The company’s whole-genome analysis platforms, with solutions for genetic disorders, reproductive health and precision oncology, help providers gain insight into a patient’s genetic makeup to improve diagnostics and personalize treatment recommendations.

Variantyx argues that this approach reduces both emotional and financial burdens on the patient, who might otherwise have to see multiple specialists and undergo several rounds of testing before reaching a diagnosis.

“The funding is a great testament of confidence and trust in the company,” said Haim Neerman, CEO of Variantyx, in a statement. “It allows us to expand our diagnostic solutions to a wider array of customers so that medical care can become more personalized. The growth of Variantyx has been exponential, and we look forward to sharing the new disruptive products we have in the pipeline.”

RELATED: Industry Voices—Whole-genome sequencing ultimately benefits payers 

The series C-2 round was led by New Era Capital Partners and includes Peregrine Ventures, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, 20/20 HealthCare Partners and Pitango HealthTech.

The company plans to use the funding to power further growth and launch new solutions, with a focus on precision oncology.

Its upcoming precision oncology solution will analyze genetic alterations in a patient’s tumor to gain insights into what treatments might work best for that patient.

“Variantyx is changing the way precision medicine is done with the most advanced platform on the market, which can detect a range of genetic findings through whole-genome analysis. That makes a huge difference in the diagnostics and treatment market,” said Gideon Argov, managing partner at New Era Capital Partners. “We are excited to help take the company to the next level, making personalized medicine more widespread.”

Not many insurance companies cover whole-genome sequencing, except for when used to help treat critically ill patients, and progress towards broadening coverage among private and public payers has been slow.

Unless the tests are considered medically necessary for a given patient according to several criteria, which differ by payer, they are often deemed experimental. 

Researchers have also warned providers to proceed with caution when considering genetic testing in healthy patients—since “genetic testing was developed for diagnosing somebody who has a condition, or whose doctor suspects they have a condition,” Ali Gharavi, M.D., professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Nephrology at the Columbia University College of Physicians, told Fierce Healthcare in an interview last January.

That increases the probability of a false-positive result when patients don’t have a currently undiagnosed disease, meaning physicians will have to run more tests to confirm the result’s validity.

RELATED: More healthy patients are taking genetic test results to their docs. But there are some pitfalls

Still, consumer genetic testing continues to rise in popularity.

Health tech unicorn Color launched in 2015 with a focus on gene testing and precision genomics. Now, at a $4.6 billion valuation, the company has broadened its reach to build public health technologies and infrastructure for governments, employers and other large institutions.

23andMe remains the most popular choice for direct-to-consumer genetic testing, with at-home kits that can provide information about a consumer’s ancestry and potential health issues. The company went public via a blank-check merger in June.