Guardant Health Raises $360 Million in Race to Create Cancer Blood Tests

Guardant Health, a California-based biotechnology company that sells blood tests to track and detect cancer, recently announced a $360 million round of funding, which has been earmarked to support Guardant’s ambitious goal to test one million patients over the next five years.

This massive amount of funding isn’t unheard of these days. Not long ago, Guardant’s fellow cancer detection startup GRAIL announced that it raised $900 million from big-name investors like Bristol-Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson. GRAIL also started its clinical trial of breast cancer screening last month, which is set to enroll 120,000 patients.

The goal of these companies isn’t just to increase the number of people tested. They also hope to collect important data that will advance the technology needed to detect and treat cancer using the latest advancements and some of the brightest minds in the field. Guardant and its compatriots want to significantly improve outcomes for people suffering from one of the most prevalent diseases out there.

“The name Guardant sounds like anti-malware software more than anything else,” Guardant Chief Executive and Co-Founder Helmy Eltoukhy told Forbes. “And that is what we believe cancer is: a bad program in a cell. And if we can detect that earlier and earlier, then clearly outcomes can improve significantly.”

Guardant’s goal, according to Eltoukhy, is to create a blood test that can be administered annually, leading to earlier detection and treatment of cancer. In the past, the technology just wasn’t there to create this sort of test; today, however, the possibility exists—so long as funding for research and development exists, too. Luckily, liquid biopsies of the sort Guardant, GRAIL, and others are developing offer far more detailed and helpful information for researchers—and that means more potential success for interested investors.

Next comes the gathering and interpretation of that data, which will hopefully lead to even greater treatment and detection opportunities in the near future.

Read more in the full Forbes article here.