MENLO PARK — GRAIL, Inc., a life sciences company whose mission is to detect cancer early when it can be cured, has raised over $900 million through the first close of its Series B financing which was led by ARCH Venture Partners and includes Johnson & Johnson Innovation as the largest investor in the financing. The initial close also includes world-class strategic pharmaceutical, technology and financial investors. GRAIL says it anticipates a second close, with Goldman, Sachs & Co. acting as a placement agent, that will include additional institutional investors globally.
“We envision a global community that benefits from early-stage cancer detection where fewer individuals face the anguish of late-stage diagnosis and devastating outcomes,” said Jeff Huber, GRAIL’s Chief Executive Officer. “I believe that GRAIL’s approach leveraging high-intensity sequencing, population-scale clinical studies, and state of the art Computer Science and Data Science is unparalleled in the field of cancer detection. Our team made tremendous progress in 2016 and I look forward to additional clinical and strategic milestones.”
In addition to ARCH Venture Partners and Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the strategic investors participating in the first close include Amazon, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, McKesson Ventures, Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada), Tencent Holdings Limited and Varian Medical Systems, Inc. GRAIL intends to close the remainder of the Series B investment prior to the end of the first quarter of 2017 from qualified investors.
“This cadre of world-class investors is a testament to their shared belief in our goal to reduce global cancer mortality through early detection,” said Ken Drazan, GRAIL’s Chief Business Officer. “Notably, the financing includes a broad spectrum of pharmaceutical and technology companies who, in the second close, will be joined by successful institutional investors in the life science space.”
GRAIL will use the proceeds of the financing for continued product development and validation of blood tests for early-stage cancer detection, including the previously announced Circulating Cell-free Genome Atlas (CCGA) study and other large-scale clinical trials that are expected to enroll hundreds of thousands of patients. The CCGA study will characterize the landscape of cell-free DNA profiles in individuals with cancer and in healthy non-cancer participants using GRAIL’s high-intensity (ultra-broad and ultra-deep) sequencing approach, leveraging Illumina sequencing technology. Some of the proceeds were used to repurchase a portion of Illumina’s stake in GRAIL such that Illumina now owns slightly less than 20 percent of the Company.