Prenatal Testing Firm BillionToOne Closes $15M Series A Financing28-Mar-2019
From Genome Web
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – BillionToOne, a Bay Area startup developing a molecular counting technology for noninvasive prenatal testing, said today that is has closed an oversubscribed $15 million Series A financing round.
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 said that it will use the funding to support its innovation, growth, and the launch of its first product, Unity, a noninvasive prenatal test (NIPT) for recessively inherited single-gene disorders.
The company claims that its molecular counting technology will be able to detect and quantify single-gene inherited disorders like cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy because of its extremely high sensitivity.
"BillionToOne's molecular counter uses specifically designed molecular standards that encode the molecular count information in sequencing data in a way that can be decoded using machine learning algorithms," a company spokesperson said in an email. "This allows us to get extremely quantitative molecular counting information from any sequencing technology."
In a statement, BillionToOne Cofounder and CEO Oguzhan Atay added that the technology "improves the resolution of cell-free DNA testing by over a thousand-fold, meaning we can detect disorders other tests can't. The result is an increase in accuracy at a much more granular level."
The firm said that its Unity test will be available later this spring and will be the only prenatal cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy screening option that tests fetal cell-free DNA using a single tube of the mother's blood. BillionToOne also plans to move into the oncology liquid biopsy market next year.