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Saga Diagnostics raises $4.1M for its ultrasensitive cancer blood tests

test tubes
Saga Diagnostics says its digital PCR and parallel sequencing tech can detect mutant alleles much more accurately than other PCR and next-generation sequencing methods. (Pixabay)

Saga Diagnostics has raised 40 million Swedish kronor, or about $4.1 million, to help develop its ultrasensitive liquid biopsy tests for the monitoring of cancer treatments.

A spinout from Lund University in Sweden, Saga aims to quantify aberrations in DNA, RNA and strands of circulating tumor DNA in the bloodstream using massive parallel sequencing and digital PCR.

The company says its sequencing tech can detect mutant allele fractions as low as 0.001%—representing the number of mutant or variant reads compared to the total amount—making it more accurate than other PCR and next-generation sequencing methods.

According to Saga, the company already has commercial agreements with pharmaceutical partners and biomedical laboratories for the use of its technologies, central lab testing services and reagent kits.

The venture capital round was lead by Hadean Ventures, a Nordic-focused European life science fund manager, and included existing shareholders including Fårö Capital and the Gunnar Nilsson Cancer Foundation.

“We believe liquid biopsies will be an increasingly important part of treating cancer patients in the future,” said Hadean managing partner Walter Stockinger, who joins the company’s board of directors. “What attracted us to Saga specifically is its unique platform technologies, which sets Saga apart in an exciting and developing field.”

The funds will be used to boost the commercialization of Saga’s portfolio, help with the development of new products and support prospective clinical studies. Additionally, the company said it is pursuing regulatory activities toward laboratory ISO accreditation and its first CE-IVD marked kits.