Kaiser Permanente, American Cancer Society join blood test startup’s $160M funding round


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South San Francisco-based biotech company Freenome announced the close of a $160 million funding round, with participation from Kaiser Permanente Ventures, the American Cancer Society’s BrightEdge Ventures and Alphabet’s GV and Verily Life Sciences.

The Series B financing will be used to further develop Freenome’s blood test for early cancer detection. The startup uses an artificial intelligence-powered multiomics platform to analyze routine blood draws for often-missed biomarkers of early-stage cancer. Development of the platform has so far centered on use in detecting colorectal cancer.

Beyond further refinement of the platform, Freenome will also conduct a validation study to be submitted to the FDA and CMS for review and, eventually, expand the test to detect other forms of cancer and disease, according to CEO Gabe Otte.


Healthcare stocks rally after Trump administration nixes drug rebate plan


Shares of major health insurers and other healthcare companies surged July 11 after the Trump administration yanked a plan to curb drug rebates. The healthcare rally helped push the Dow Industrial Average to 27,088 — its highest close ever.

UnitedHealth Group led the Dow to its all-time high, according to The Wall Street Journal. UnitedHealth climbed 5.5 percent July 11 to $261.16 per share.

Shares of major pharmaceutical companies, including Merck, Pfizer and Eli Lilly, lost ground on July 11, hampering the Dow’s climb, according to TheStreet.

“Pharma is getting absolutely shellacked,” Jamie Cox, managing partner for Harris Financial Group, told TheStreet. “I think being in the crosshairs of both parties in advance of an election year is definitely not a good place to be. It’s the one area where Democrats and Republicans can agree-they can beat up on pharma and there’s no negative repercussions.”

The S&P 500 also reached a record July 11, trading 0.2 percent higher. In the S&P 500, Cigna jumped 9.2 percent to $175.34 per share, while shares of CVS Health climbed 4.7 percent to $57.97. However, pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology firms broadly declined, according to The Wall Street Journal.