Foundation Medicine, a personalized cancer medicine company that aims to bring comprehensive cancer genome analysis into routine clinical care, today announced it has completed a $25 million Series A financing led by Third Rock Ventures. Proceeds from the financing will be used to develop clinical laboratory tests — using next generation sequencing and other advanced technologies — that will broadly analyze the relevant tumor genomic and other molecular information in individual patients’ cancers and connect it with a knowledge base of clinical data to help oncologists personalize treatment. Foundation Medicine’s founding scientific advisors are widely recognized leaders in the field of cancer genomics and its translation into clinical practice. Biotech industry veteran Alexis Borisy is serving as the founding chief executive officer of the company.
“Over the past decade, cancer genome centers have undertaken the detailed molecular mapping of thousands of cancers, coinciding with development of more targeted cancer therapies,” stated Mr. Borisy. “Technology is now advancing to where it is becoming possible to analyze a patient’s particular tumor comprehensively to map its specific root causes. We believe this comprehensive tumor information could prove important in selecting optimal therapy for some patients. Currently, no mechanism exists whereby clinicians, in the day-to-day practice of clinical oncology, can systematically obtain tumor information and efficiently interpret the specific molecular alterations associated with each patient’s disease.”
Foundation Medicine’s founding advisors are world leaders in the fields of cancer genomics, cancer biology, clinical oncology, and information sciences. They, alongside biotechnology and molecular diagnostics industry leaders, possess the multi-disciplinary expertise required to bring cancer genomics into the routine practice of medicine. The company’s founding academic advisors — from the Broad Institute, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — include Eric Lander, Ph.D., Todd Golub, M.D., Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., and Matthew Meyerson, M.D., Ph.D.
“The ability to render informative tumor genetic and molecular features accessible and interpretable in the routine diagnostic setting is essential to speed the advent of personalized cancer treatment,” said Dr. Garraway. “The goal of Foundation Medicine is to deliver high-quality products that address this growing medical need in a comprehensive manner.” Added Dr. Meyerson, “Through Foundation Medicine, we are extending the groundbreaking sequencing and analytical work being done at leading academic centers and in the laboratories of researchers around the world to improve outcomes for cancer patients. I look forward to working with my esteemed colleagues to assist Foundation in bringing meaningful, affordable tumor analysis to clinical practice.”
Dr. Lander is the director of the Broad Institute, professor of Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Golub is the founding director of the Broad Institute’s Cancer Program and the Charles A. Dana Investigator in Human Cancer Genetics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Garraway is an assistant professor of medicine in the Department of Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, a faculty member of Dana-Farber’s Center for Cancer Genome Discovery, leader of the OncoMap project, and an associate member of the Broad Institute. Dr. Meyerson is director of the Center for Cancer Genome Discovery at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School, a principal investigator of The Cancer Genome Atlas project, and a senior associate member of the Broad Institute.
Also assisting Foundation in its mission is a board of directors made up of industry veterans with proven track records for building exceptional life sciences companies, including Alexis Borisy, founding chief executive officer of Foundation Medicine; Mark Levin, a long-time personalized medicine visionary, partner at Third Rock Ventures and former chief executive officer of Millennium Pharmaceuticals; David Schenkein, M.D., chief executive officer of Agios Pharmaceuticals and former leader of Genentech’s BioOncology development portfolio; and Robert Tepper, M.D., partner at Third Rock Ventures, distinguished scientist and former president of research and development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals.
“Personalized treatment has been a dream of many people working in the cancer field over the last 20 years,” said Mr. Levin. “With dramatic advances made during that time in biological understanding, genomic technologies and targeted therapies, we believe the time has come to fulfill the promise to patients. We’re thrilled to be working with this outstanding group of people to build the company that will make it happen.”
About Foundation Medicine
Foundation Medicine is dedicated to the development of comprehensive tests that will help physicians personalize cancer treatment for their patients. Foundation Medicine’s laboratory tests are designed to accommodate and assimilate a dynamic landscape of cancer genome and other molecular information and growing availability of treatment options. These tests will help oncologists make prompt and informed determinations about the best cancer treatment for each patient, taking into account the patient’s unique cancer-associated aberrations against relevant genomic insights and therapeutic approaches. The company’s founding advisors are world leaders in genome technology, cancer biology and clinical oncology; they, alongside biotech and molecular diagnostics industry leaders, will harness emerging technologies to develop unparalleled tests that identify and interpret an ever-growing set of actionable genomic and other molecular alterations, truly enabling personalized cancer medicine. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.foundationmedicine.com.
About Third Rock Ventures
Third Rock Ventures L.L.C. is a premier venture firm focused on life sciences, investing and launching companies that make a difference in people’s lives. Collaborating with entrepreneurs, the Third Rock team applies its deep expertise to establish the roadmap and building blocks for a rapidly-growing and highly-successful life sciences company. The Third Rock team has a unique vision and experience in building great companies, extensive academic and industry networks and a collective track record for creatively managing the value creation path to deliver exceptional performance. For more information, please visit www.thirdrockventures.com.