Early Cancer-Detection Startup GRAIL is Reportedly Trying to Raise More Money

Only a few months after GRAIL raised a record-breaking $900 million in its Series B funding round, the company is looking for further funding. Focused on early cancer detection, GRAIL also raised $100 million last year to develop its blood testing technology.

The current search for funding is focused on sovereign funds. Early talks with Mubadala and Softbank, the $125 billion sovereign fund and private equity firm, suggests that these may be sources of further incoming monies. GRAIL’s parent company Illumina may also provide GRAIL with some resources.

In terms of offerings, GRAIL’s current focus is its 120,000-subject breast cancer trial, announced back in April. This trial would likely get most, if not all, of the company’s current fundraising efforts.

Another clinical trial called the Circulating Cell-Free Genome Study, which involves 10,000 participants, could also use more funding. If successful, it will give GRAIL a better sense of overall cancer genetics, which would help with both detection and treatment.

GRAIL’s other financial goals include buying back large portions of stock from Illumina, effectively lowering Illumina’s ownership to a minority stake. And GRAIL still needs to recover financially from the $100 million merger with Chinese company Cirina, which is developing a test for nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

GRAIL came onto the scene in 2016 with an ambitious goal to develop its first cancer test and bring it to market within three years. The plan is to create that test by using technology to pick up signals from free-floating tumor DNA in the bloodstream. Presumably, this would be easier and more affordable to treat than current options.

However, price remains an issue. Initial funds for such an enterprise often go toward the starting clinical studies—as well as situations like those GRAIL is facing with Illumina and Cirina.

Read more about GRAIL’s new funding round in these articles:

  1. PE Hub First Read (PE Hub)
  2. Cancer-Detecting Start-Up GRAIL is Seeking More Funding, Mere Months After Raising $900 Million (CNBC)
  3. Early Cancer-Detection Startup GRAIL is Reportedly Trying to Raise More Money (Tech Crunch)