San Diego

Funding Goes to Cancer Drug Developers, Company Billed as the Anti-Theranos

Three San Diego biotechs -- EpicentRx, Truvian Sciences, and Phoenix Molecular Designs -- just secured funding

Seeking and destroying lung cancer. Succeeding where Theranos failed. Treating resistant breast cancers.

These are the aims of three San Diego biotechs that recently received funding.

EpicentRx raised $35 million in a series D round for its lung cancer drug that’s in late-stage clinical testing. The company is built on dual platforms, “which reprogram both arms of the immune system, innate and adaptive, to seek out and destroy cancer cells,” said CEO Corey Carter in a news release.

Carter said the company is led by practicing oncologists, who are pursuing cancer treatments with minimal toxicity.

Truvian Sciences is developing a benchtop system that can run a suite of health tests on only drops of bloods. Answers come back in 20 minutes. Sound a little familiar?

The company is quick to separate itself from Theranos, a now-dissolved Silicon Valley company that misled investors with faulty blood tests.

Unlike Theranos, Truvian is welcoming scrutiny from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and it’s led and advised by a pack of experienced life sciences executives.

CEO Jeff Hawkins was previously the vice president and general manager of Illumina’s reproductive and genetic health division.

“More and more consumers are refusing to accept the status quo of health care and are saying no to expensive tests, inconvenient appointments and little to no access to their own test results,” said Hawkins.

Truvian raised $27.1 million in a series B round.

Lastly, Phoenix Molecular Designs took in $12 million in seed funding. Phoenix’s lead program, PMD-026, is in early-stage clinical testing in metastatic breast cancer and triple-negative breast cancer.

Sandra Dunn leads the company.

“As a company in a challenging disease space, we appreciate the vote of confidence from our investors,” the CEO said.

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