Caris Life Sciences Secures $310 Million to Advance Precision Medicine Toolset
This morning, Texas-based Caris announced the funding, which includes $235 million in equity financing, will be used to support its ongoing oncology focus, as well as to accelerate the development of innovative therapeutics and advance potential treatments for cancer into the clinic, which include high-sensitivity liquid biopsy diagnostics and novel drug-target identification programs.
Caris Life Sciences develops molecular profiling assays for oncology that scan DNA, RNA and proteins to reveal a molecular blueprint to help physicians determine the best course of treatment for cancer patients. Earlier this month, Caris Life Sciences launched CODEai (Comprehensive Oncology Data Explorer), a real-world clinico-genomic data platform that uses artificial intelligence capable of covering more than 1 million data points per patient. According to the company, CODEai allows for customized cohort analysis based on a variety of search queries that include molecular profiling results, demographic data, diagnostic data, and treatment and survival data.
Pointing to advances made in oncology over the past several years, David D. Halbert, chairman and chief executive officer of Caris, said tumor profiling is becoming standard practice for physicians to treat cancer and will remain a core part of the company’s business. In a brief statement Tuesday, Halbert said Caris Life Sciences will “continue to advance our market-leading tumor profiling platform, clinical trial delivery service, grow our clinical and R&D laboratory facilities, expand our biopharmaceutical partnerships and further expand our investments in AI-powered innovation with our Precision Oncology Alliance collaborators.”
Brian J. Brille, vice chairman of Caris Life Sciences, said the funding represents the “first significant external equity investment in Caris” and touted the involvement of the investors. The round was led by Highland Capital Management and Coatue. Other participants included T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., OrbiMed, Millennium Management, Neuberger Berman, ClearBridge Investments, First Light Asset Management and other undisclosed investors. In addition to the equity financing, the funds raised by the company include $75 million in debt from Sixth Street, which was an extension to the $150 million in structured debt financing raised in 2018. In addition to the $75 million, Sixth Street also participated in the equity round.
“We've reached an inflection point in the ability to use precision medicine to guide treatment decisions for cancer patients. Caris has built the leading clinically-focused comprehensive tumor profiling platform, providing the broadest coverage of actionable biomarkers, unparalleled physician support, and proprietary molecular signature analytics that will continue to enhance the utility of its testing platform for clinicians,” Nate Burns, portfolio manager and Head of Healthcare at Highland Capital Management said in a statement.