Biotech startup secures $3.1M investment to support breast cancer detection technology
The investment, led by South Dakota Equity Partners, Denny Sanford and Sanford Frontiers, a corporate affiliate of Sanford Health, will help speed the development of Inanovate’s breast cancer blood test, which aims to identify false positives from screening mammograms and reduce costly, stressful and unnecessary follow-up imaging.
The test is part of a larger plan from Inanovate, which also includes a second test that aims to monitor the progress of breast cancer patients through therapy and beyond, and identify a recurrence event in its earliest stage, when it may be more effectively treated and cured.
“We are excited to have secured investment that will allow our company to implement our development plan through the next 18 months,” Inanovate CEO David Ure said. “We’re pleased to have partnered with investors who share our vision for improving cancer diagnosis and treatment through technology innovation. Our partners bring both expertise and passion to our investment team as we align to the needs and goals of one of the leading hospital networks in the country.”
The most recent investment builds on a strong year for Inanovate, which included a $2 million Phase 2 SBIR grant from the National Cancer Institute, along with a licensing and collaboration agreement with Sanford Health that provides access to intellectual property relating to a set of breast cancer biomarkers, in addition to patient recruitment and sample access for Inanovate’s trials.
“Improving breast cancer care is an important goal of ours,” said Kim Patrick, chief business development officer for Sanford Health. “This protein-screening technology aims to improve the diagnosis of breast cancer and its recurrence.”
Inanovate’s disposable blood test cartridge
The Inanovate blood tests work by detecting antibodies in a patient’s blood that have been associated with breast cancer. Because the antibodies circulate in the blood, a simple blood draw can be evaluated to discover if the disease might be present. To analyze this blood draw, Inanovate uses its patented biomarker analysis platform: The BioID-800. The machine is compact, fully automated, fits on a bench top and uses disposable test cartridges.
“This is a highly sensitive but low-cost instrument that can recognize the presence of multiple different biomarkers from a small sample of blood in one low-cost, easy-to-use test,” Ure said.
“This approach to blood analysis can be extended to conditions other than breast cancer, including diagnostic, prognostic and monitoring needs for other cancer types, as well as for a variety of autoimmune diseases.”
South Dakota Equity Partners has been following Inanovate since 2016 as it secured investments and started diagnostic trials, said CEO Blaine Crissman, who also will join the company’s board of directors.
“The diagnostic trials they’ve conducted are very promising,” Crissman said. “We are very optimistic and excited about the future impact of this device. David is developing a really strong management team, and the involvement of Sanford Research is significant. Inanovate’s technology integrated with research through Sanford Health can bring this to patients seamlessly.”
A second closing of the Series C investment round is anticipated for the second quarter of 2019.
“We congratulate Inanovate on this most recent investment and anticipate continued significant developments for this promising startup,” said Joni Johnson, executive director of South Dakota Biotech. “It’s exciting to see the relationship forming between our strong health care and medical research community and our biotech entrepreneurs, strengthened by our increased access to venture capital.”