SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Jan. 3, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Crescendo Bioscience®, a molecular diagnostics company dedicated to developing and commercializing quantitative blood tests for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other auto-immune diseases, announced today that it has completed a $28 Million Series D financing. The financing was led by Skyline Ventures and Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. (NYSE:SFE) and was joined by existing investors Mohr Davidow Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, aeris CAPITAL AG and others. Ferghana Partners assisted Crescendo Bioscience in raising the Series D financing and served as its placement agent. This round of funding will enable Crescendo to accelerate its commercialization efforts for Vectra DA, a novel test which assesses disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
"2012 was a very productive year in which we made significant investments in both the commercial and medical areas of our business," said William A. Hagstrom, President and CEO of Crescendo Bioscience. "Over the last year, we expanded our field sales organization, which allowed us to increase our customer base to nearly 500 rheumatologists and significantly increase test volume to include samples from more than 30,000 patients. To facilitate this growth, we invested in laboratory infrastructure, automation and expanded web portal capabilities to better serve our clients. We also invested in expanding our medical team with rheumatology, immunology and industry expertise to drive additional studies, data generation and peer reviewed publications. With this new Series D financing and the addition of our newest investment partners, Skyline Ventures and Safeguard Scientifics, Inc., we believe that we can build on this progress and generate further momentum in our commercialization and clinical development programs. We look forward to this exciting partnership."
Crescendo Bioscience is currently working with collaborators from leading medical institutions to improve upon the understanding of the underlying biology of RA. Vectra DA is a precise, standardized multi-biomarker blood test validated to assess disease activity in RA. Vectra DA measures 12 immune, endothelial, bone, cartilage and metabolic biomarkers reflecting the underlying biology of RA. Serum concentrations of the biomarkers are integrated into a proprietary algorithm that generates a disease activity score on a scale of 1 to 100. Crescendo Bioscience is establishing long-term relationships with rheumatologists by providing objective, quantitative and replicable information to help physicians improve patient care and outcomes. All testing is performed at Crescendo Bioscience's state-of-the-art CLIA-certified laboratory.
"We are excited to be working with Crescendo Bioscience to build on its success," said Leon Chen, Ph.D. at Skyline Ventures and who has joined Crescendo Bioscience's Board of Directors. "Crescendo Bioscience and Vectra DA represent not only an innovative technology in a focused market, but also have a strong business model and highly experienced management team—all critical factors in Skyline's decision-making process to invest. We look forward to lending our expertise to help the company meet and exceed its potential."
"Vectra DA addresses a large market with significant unmet needs and is already changing the way RA is being managed," said Gary J. Kurtzman, MD, Managing Director, Life Sciences at Safeguard, who also joined Crescendo Bioscience's Board of Directors. "Patients suffering from RA are treated by a concentrated group of only 3,500 rheumatologists who rely on a number of subjective measures to assess disease activity and response to treatment, which may lead to suboptimal outcomes. Vectra DA's ability to provide an objective assessment addresses this opportunity head on."
RA is a debilitating, highly variable, chronic disease affecting approximately 1.5 million Americans and more than two million people in Europe. The primary symptoms of RA are painful swollen joints and fatigue, with the disease often resulting in joint damage and disability. RA is a systemic disease that can significantly affect other parts of the body, resulting in infection, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and causes an increased rate of mortality.
Clinicians assess RA based on three factors: disease activity (clinical signs and symptoms), structural damage in joints, such as erosions, and functional status (including pain). Many of the current clinical assessment tools used by physicians are qualitative and subjective and they may not adequately identify key properties of the disease.
Early and accurate detection of RA, accompanied by effective therapy with frequent monitoring of disease activity, is critical for optimizing clinical outcomes. The American College of Rheumatology has developed guidelines supporting the goals of "Treat to Target" and "Tight Control" to help clinicians achieve clinical and structural remission in their patients, and improve their long-term functional status.
About Vectra™ DA
Vectra DA is the only multi-biomarker blood test for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease activity that integrates the concentrations of 12 serum proteins associated with RA disease activity into a single objective score to help physicians make more informed treatment decisions. Vectra DA testing is performed at Crescendo Bioscience's state-of-the-art CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) facility and test results are reported to the physician 7 to 10 days following receipt of the blood sample. Physicians can receive test results via standard mail, by fax or via the private web portal, VectraView. For more information on Vectra DA, please visit, www.Vectra-DA.com.
About Crescendo Bioscience®, Inc.
Crescendo Bioscience is a molecular diagnostics company focused in rheumatology and located in South San Francisco, CA. Crescendo Bioscience develops quantitative, objective, blood tests to provide rheumatologists with deeper clinical insights to help enable more effective management of patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. For more information, please visit the company's website at http://www.CrescendoBio.com.
About Skyline Ventures
Skyline Ventures, formed in 1997, is a nationally-known venture capital firm that specializes in investing in outstanding product-focused healthcare companies. Our areas of expertise include small molecule and protein therapeutics; medical devices; diagnostics; and technologies that facilitate drug discovery and life science research. For more information, please visit www.skylineventures.com.
About Safeguard Scientifics
Founded in 1953 and based in Wayne, PA, Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. (NYSE:SFE) provides growth capital and operational support to entrepreneurial and innovative life sciences and technology companies. Safeguard participates in expansion financings, corporate spin-outs, management buyouts, recapitalizations, industry consolidations and early-stage financings. For more information, please visit our website at www.safeguard.com.
About Ferghana Partners
Ferghana Partners is a leading specialist investment banking group delivering high quality, senior level advice to the global Healthcare and Chemicals Sectors for value-added Corporate Partnering, M&A and Equity Financing Transactions, www.ferghanapartners.com.
Continuum Health Communications