MENLO PARK — BillionToOne says it has closed a highly oversubscribed Series A funding round of $15 million. Hummingbird Ventures and NeoTribe Ventures led the investment round with participation from Y Combinator, Civilization Ventures, Fifty Years, 500 Startups Istanbul, and HOF Capital.
BillionToOne is a precision diagnostics company and inventors of the patent-pending molecular counter platform, which increases the resolution of cell-free DNA detection by over a thousandfold.
The funding will be used to support growth and the launch of BillionToOne’s first product—UNITY, a non-invasive prenatal test for recessively inherited single gene disorders.
“BillionToOne’s molecular counter improves the resolution of cell-free DNA testing by over a thousand-fold, meaning we can detect disorders other tests can’t. It’s the difference in finding a haystack verses the needle in the haystack.” said Oguzhan Atay, PhD, co-founder and CEO of BillionToOne. “The result is an increase in accuracy at a much more granular level.”
Current non-invasive prenatal tests (NIPTs) exclude single-gene inherited disorders like cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy because they can only detect large chromosomal abnormalities greater than one million base-pairs. Similarly, in today’s liquid biopsy tests, certain cancer mutations, such as HER2, one of the most important genes for breast cancer, may need to be as high as 20 percent of the total cell-free DNA of a blood sample to be detected. BillionToOne’s platform can quantitatively measure and determine these mutations at much lower levels.
“Our investment thesis is grounded in finding and supporting extraordinary entrepreneurs globally, and David and Oguzhan match our notion of entrepreneurial excellence,” said Firat Ileri of Europe-based Hummingbird Ventures. “We’ve invested with conviction that BillionToOne’s sequencing platform has the ability to unlock the full clinical potential of cell-free DNA.”
Cell-free DNA testing is the fastest growing diagnostic sector in history and is currently used in a number of health care settings, including prenatal genetic testing for chromosomal abnormalities and oncology for blood-based tumor profiling in late-stage cancers. BillionToOne’s first product, UNITY, is to be available later this spring. It will be the only prenatal cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy screening option that tests fetal cell-free DNA through a single tube of the mother’s blood. The company plans to make diagnostic advancements in oncology liquid biopsy space next year.
“BillionToOne’s new deep-tech platform can create an exciting new category of cell-free DNA testing that is affordable and accessible,” said Kittu Kolluri, co-founder and managing director of NeoTribe and former general partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA). “We are excited to join BillionToOne and be a part of its growth as they revolutionize the clinical utility of genomic sequencing.”