The biotechnology start-up Grail recently announced its plan to raise $1 billion in financing to create a liquid biopsy assay that could detect cancer earlier by measuring circulating nucleic acids in blood. The company said it started a clinical trial with 10,000 patients, but studies will require hundreds of thousands of patients to test the technology appropriately.
“By enabling the early detection of cancer in asymptomatic individuals through a simple blood screen, we aim to massively decrease cancer mortality by detecting the disease at a curable stage,” said Jay Flatley, chairman of the board of Grail. The company has already secured $100 in funding, with contributions coming from Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, as well as others.
Sources: Forbes, January 5, 2017; Illumina news release, January 5, 2017.