Israel-based cancer diagnostic panels developer Nucleix has secured $55m in a financing round led by RA Capital Management, an investment advisor in the life-sciences sector.

New investors including funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Lilly Asia Ventures, LYFE Capital and MILFAM, joined the funding round alongside existing investors.

The existing investors OrbiMed, Aurum Ventures, DSC Investment, OCI Bio Investments and Zohar Zisapel participated in the round.

Nucleix will use the funding proceeds to advance its methylation technology, EpiCheck, and develop Lung EpiCheck assay for the early detection of lung cancer.

Nucleix CEO Chris Hibberd said: “Early detection of cancer from a blood sample is like listening for a whisper in a crowded room – you need to separate a faint signal from considerable background noise.

“EpiCheck minimizes sample loss and background noise while detecting minute cancer epigenetic signals with greater sensitivity than other technologies.

“This new funding enables us to further demonstrate the power of the technology through a focused program in lung cancer, advancing tests designed to be highly sensitive, easily deployed and cost effective.”

Nucleix said that its EpiCheck is an ultra-sensitive technology, designed to detect methylation changes in the sample.

The technology is also compatible with both next-generation sequencing (NGS) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) platforms.

Nucleix said that it is leveraging EpiCheck’s NGS application for deep discovery to unveil new biomarkers that may be used in the early detection and monitoring of cancer.

The discoveries can be developed as highly sensitive tests using the PCR application of EpiCheck, to facilitate cost-effective operations in both centralised and local laboratories.

Lung EpiCheck is a high-sensitive, methylation-based blood assay that works as a simple blood test to detect lung cancer at the earliest stages.

The test leverages NGS and PCR-based technology to enable a highly sensitive analysis of subtle, disease-specific changes in DNA methylation markers.

Nucleix is currently developing an improved version of the assay and with plans to begin a clinical study to validate the test, and roll out the product into markets in 2022.