Irving-headquartered biotech innovator Caris Life Sciences has raised $310 million in growth capital to continue growing its precision medicine, which aims to reinvent cancer care.
This is the first significant external equity investment Caris has received, according to Vice Chairman Brian J. Brille. He said the investors all contain deep domain knowledge in healthcare and technology.
The funding includes $235 million in equity financing co-led by Highland Capital Management, a global alternative investment platform, and Coatue, a technology investment platform, per a statement. There was also participation from T. Rowe Price Associates, OrbiMed, Millennium Management, Neuberger Berman, ClearBridge Investments, and First Light Asset Management, among other undisclosed investors.
“We’ve reached an inflection point in the ability to use precision medicine to guide treatment decisions for cancer patients,” Nate Burns, portfolio manager and head of Healthcare at Highland Capital Management, said in a statement. “Caris has built the leading clinically-focused comprehensive tumor profiling platform, providing the broadest coverage of actionable biomarkers, unparalleled physician support, and proprietary molecular signature analytics that will continue to enhance the utility of its testing platform for clinicians.”
The rest of the funding comes from Sixth Street, which invested $75 million in debt financing as an extension to the $150 million the firm invested in 2018. Sixth Street, which operates eight diversified collaborative investment platforms, also participated in the equity round. Its co-founding partner, Vijay Mohan, will join Caris’ Board of Directors at the conclusion of the most recent financing.
“By growing its platform, increasing its research and testing capacity, and strengthening its client partnerships, Caris has steadily advanced its position as the leading tumor profiling company,” Mohan said in a statement. “We look forward to our board engagement as Caris keeps leading as an innovator in precision medicine.”
Caris Life Sciences is built around the mission to help physicians and cancer patients make more personalized and precise treatment decisions—completely changing the way patients are diagnosed and treated.
The team calls itself pioneers in molecular science. Caris has a suite of molecular profiling offerings that assess DNA, RNA, and proteins to reveal a molecular blueprint and identify the right treatment option for each patient.
For instance: Caris’ MI Exome is an exome sequencing with 22,000 DNA genes, and MI Transcriptome is a whole transcriptome sequencing with 22,000 RNA genes. Coupled with an analysis of cancer-related pathogens, bacteria, viruses, and fungi, Caris says it can provide “the most comprehensive and clinically relevant DNA and RNA profiling available on the market.”
In addition to growing its precision medicine, Caris will use the new funding to accelerate product development and pursue new initiatives in the clinical trial and biopharmaceutical markets, per a statement.
“Caris puts the patient at the center of everything we do, and focuses on fulfilling the promise of improving patient outcomes across all cancer types worldwide,” David D. Halbert, chairman and CEO of Caris, said in a statement. “As tumor profiling becomes standard practice, it’s important that we continue to grow rapidly as we maintain our leadership position.”
Another arm of the company is Caris Pharmatech, which aims to streamline the clinical trial process for drug development.
Caris Pharmatech uses its Just-In-Time Oncology Network to assist biopharma companies in accessing research-ready oncology sites for clinical trials. This allows the companies to identify and enroll more patients and deploy rapid site activation.
That innovation was born last year, when Caris acquired Denver-based Pharmatech, the pioneer behind a Just-In-Time research system that matches cancer patients to the clinical trials that are right for them.
Also last year, Caris launched its AI-driven MI GPS Score as an add-on to its comprehensive genomic profiling offerings that help guide decision-making in tumor treatments.
The Genomic Profiling Similarity Score uses more than 6,500 mathematical models in a machine learning algorithm to compare molecular characteristics of a patient’s tumor against Caris’ extensive database.
Caris’ work is done at the Caris Life Sciences Corporate Park in Irving. The company also has offices in Phoenix, Denver, New York, and Switzerland.
“We continue to advance our market-leading tumor profiling platform, clinical trial delivery service, grow our clinical and R&D laboratory facilities, expand our biopharmaceutical partnerships and further expand our investments in AI-powered innovation with our Precision Oncology Alliance collaborators,” Halbert said. “We are thrilled that our new partners share our vision to be the industry-leader in the precision medicine space.”
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